Nutrition screening: science behind simplicity

  • Friedeburg A M Wenhold University of Pretoria


Nutrition screening triggers entry into the nutrition care process.1 Screening has informally been described as simple, quick or low-intensity proxy for more complex procedures. More formal definitions for the nutrition setting have been proposed, describing nutrition screening as a process of identifying patients, clients, or groups who may be at risk of malnutrition or may already be malnourished to determine if a detailed nutrition assessment is indicated.2 Nutrition screening can rely on anthropometric, dietary, clinical and/or biochemical parameters, can be “general” in nature or focus on a particular aspect of nutritional status, intended for a specific target group and/or context. One of the most important characteristics of a screening tool is its cost-effectiveness, i.e. whether it is able to adequately achieve its aim with the least resources. To determine whether the intended aim is achieved, the screening tool’s findings are typically compared to those of a comprehensive nutrition assessment, a technique called comparative or relative validation.3

Author Biography

Friedeburg A M Wenhold, University of Pretoria
PhD; RD(SA) Senior Lecturer Department Human Nutrition Faculty of Health Sciences University of Pretoria South Africa
How to Cite
Wenhold, F. (2017). Nutrition screening: science behind simplicity. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 30(3), 5-6. Retrieved from
Guest Editorial