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Poor Nutritional Status Affects Quality of Life for Patients With COPD

Allison Inserro
A recent study examined the nutritional status and dietary intake among outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its possible associations with quality of life.
A recent study aimed to examine the nutritional status and dietary intake among outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its possible associations with quality of life (QoL).

The researchers said malnutrition is common in patients with COPD. Malnutrition adversely affects pulmonary function, decreases health-related QoL, and increases the risk of exacerbations, length of hospital stay, and healthcare costs. Previous studies have shown that nutrition interventions could result in significant improvements in functional capacity and QoL, as well as decreasing morbidity and mortality for patients with COPD. However, most of those studies focus on supplementary intervention, and few have looked at the potential and specific factors that may alter nutritional status, dietary intake, and QoL of patients with COPD.

In addition, most studies looking at this issue have come from high-income countries, and not low-income countries like Vietnam. A cross-sectional study was carried out in a COPD outpatient clinic in Vietnam between May 2017 and July 2017. The nutritional status of participants was assessed using Subjective Global Assessment (SGA), and dietary intake was assessed via a 24-hour recall interview. The St George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) for COPD was used to investigate the participants’ QoL. Sociodemographic and clinical data were extracted from hospital records.

Of 168 COPD outpatients involved in the study, 74.4% were diagnosed as malnourished and 81.5% reported unintentional weight loss. Most of the patients did not meet their estimated energy and protein requirements (85.7% and 89.9%, respectively). Malnutrition was significantly associated with disease severity (P = .039) and ratio of protein intake to estimated requirement (P = .005). QoL was low for all levels of malnutrition or disease severity, with well-nourished participants and those with less disease severity having better QoL (P = .006 and P <.001, respectively).

With an extra meal per day, the odds of having malnutrition decreased 5.6 times (P <.05) and the total SGRQ reduced 3.61 scores (P <.05), indicating a better QoL.

Nutrition counseling, including increasing the number of meals per day with a focus on energy- and protein-rich foods, may help improve nutritional status and QoL of patients with COPD, the authors said.


Nguyen HT, Collins PF, Pavey TG, et al. Nutritional status, dietary intake, and health-related quality of life in outpatients with COPD [published online January 14, 2019]. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S181322.

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