© Emma Halmos
It has long been acknowledged that Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) carries a risk of malnutrition, leading to fatigue, infection, poor wound healing and poor health-related quality of life . Historically, most attention has been devoted to undernutrition; however, there is now evidence that overnutrition in the form of visceral fat is associated with raised tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and poorer responses to anti-TNF agents , indicating that central adiposity can be just as detrimental to disease outcomes as undernutrition. Furthermore, under- and overnutrition are not mutually exclusive and nutrient deficiencies and excesses often co-exist. In the last few years, there has been a shift away from the historical approach of using rudimentary markers of malnutrition, such as weight or body mass index (BMI), which can often be misleading as assessment tools in that they may falsely detect abnormalities or miss them completely, towards more detailed body composition measures of muscle and fat mass, which reflect nutritional abnormalities more sensitively. Indeed, GLIM (Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition) recognises the importance of body composition in the diagnosis of malnutrition . The key question now is how should we best assess our IBD patients for nutritional status in order to identify risk of poor clinical outcomes?