Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Nutritional Physiological Phenomena


Diet has been implicated as a risk factor in atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure and chronic liver and kidney diseases. These diseases include almost all of the most common non-traumatic causes of death in the United States. It has been suggested that many physicians do not have the opportunity for specific training in nutrition while in medical school. Many studies have shown that patients admitted to a hospital are at risk of malnutrition and that this risk will increase as length of hospital stay increases. Other studies suggested nutritional deficiencies may result in delayed wound healing, major and minor complications, and increased mortality. These complications increase length of stay and hospital costs. A physical therapist, as part of a team, has the chance to impart basic nutritional information to patients. This information may be in addition to information provided to the patient by a physician, nurse, dietician or other health care worker. Patients with improved nutrition benefit from disease prevention through elimination of this risk factor. Patients with improved nutrition also benefit directly from increased energy to participate in physical therapy. This paper will be a review of the literature on the topics of prevalence of malnutrition in hospitals, physician education in nutrition, and nutrition in wound healing to summarize recent findings. From these findings, conclusions concerning nutrition in rehabilitation and recommendations for physical therapists will be provided.