Prevalence of malnutrition and sarcopenia in Swiss rehabilitation settings

The study will collect for the first time national multicenter prevalence data on malnutrition and sarcopenia in the rehabilitation setting, highlighting the importance of the topic.



Malnutrition and sarcopenia are common health problems in various populations, especially among older adults. They are associated with adverse outcomes such as higher complication rates, longer hospital stays, increased morbidity and mortality, and lower quality of life. There are few prevalence data available for malnutrition and sarcopenia, especially in rehabilitation hospitals and for different rehabilitation divisions and age groups. This study aims to fill this gap by both collecting prevalence data across multiple rehabilitation divisions and examining the progression of malnutrition and sarcopenia parameters during the rehabilitation stay.

Course of action

For the primary objective (prevalence study), a national multicenter cross-sectional study will be conducted in five rehabilitation centers in Switzerland. For the secondary objective (change in parameters during rehabilitation), a prospective multicenter observational study will be conducted. A total of 550 patients will be included across six rehabilitation divisions. Prevalence will be assessed according to international recommendations. This will initially include screening for malnutrition by determining the Nutritional Risk Score. Screening for sarcopenia is performed by a validated questionnaire (SARC-F), determination of handgrip strength and determination of the chair-stand test. If the screening result is positive, an assessment and determination of severity follows, during which other measurement parameters such as weight, body mass index (BMI), development of appetite, weight loss and estimation of meeting nutritional intake requirements, muscle mass and functionality are examined. In addition, changes in malnutrition and sarcopenia parameters (handgrip strength, body weight, BMI) and the measure of functional independence (FIM) between entry and discharge from rehabilitation will be collected as an indication of rehabilitation progress. The study is supported by Fresenius Kabi (Switzerland) AG.


Data collection takes place from 01.11.2022 – 31.03.2023.

Looking ahead

The study aims to raise awareness about the importance of malnutrition and sarcopenia and to identify the need for individualized nutritional interventions during rehabilitation.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being