Malnutrition in elderly individuals is extremely common. In China, Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS-2002) is often used to assess malnutrition in hospitalized elderly patients, although a gold standard for elderly outpatients is lacking. The Nutrition Screening Initiative Checklist (NSI) and Malnutrition Screening Tool (MST) have seldom been validated in elderly outpatients. This open, parallel, multi-center, cross-sectional study evaluated the performance of NRS-2002, the NSI, and the MST in estimating malnutrition risk in elderly outpatients. This study included 986 elderly outpatients, with 53.2% being women, from five clinical teaching hospitals in Beijing. The sensitivity, specificity, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of the tools were estimated using a body mass index (BMI) of <18.5 kg/m2 as a reference. The mean (range) age of the patients was 69.6±6.8 (60-100) years. Overall, 4.3% had BMI <18.5 kg/m2, 16.8% scored ≥3 points in NRS-2002, 9.8% scored ≥2 points in the MST, and 37.0% scored ≥3 points in the NSI. NRS-2002 had the highest sensitivity and the best AUC (0.934 vs. 0.642 for the NSI and 0.660 for the MST, p<0.05), and the MST had the highest specificity. The sensitivity and specificity of the NSI were 0.64 and 0.64, respectively. NRS-2002 had the highest validity, and the MST had the highest specificity in estimating the risk of malnutrition in elderly outpatients. However, the accuracy of the NSI should be further verified with large samples.

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