Fighting hospital malnutrition: Let's start by calibrating hospital scales!

Carlo Pedrolli, Emanuele Cereda, Antonio Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Body weight measurement is fundamental in nutritional screening. Thus, weighing scales should be regularly calibrated. This procedure is so important that in 1990 the Council of Europe produced an ad hoc directive. Unfortunately, little is known about scales management in hospitals. We performed an inventory in the City Hospital of Trento (900 beds), which is responsible for the healthcare of 250,000 inhabitants. The analysis included flat, chair and paediatric neonatal scales. We focused attention on the date of arrival and calibration management. In the hospital, there were 211 scales: 190 flat scales, 13 chair scales and 8 paediatric neonatal scales. The mean "age" was 10.3±7.3 years; 22.3% were 5-10 years old and 44.1% were aged >10 years. No scale was ever calibrated. They are managed by the "Internal Logistics Unit", meaning that scales are regarded as pieces of furniture rather than as diagnostic tools. Accurate weight measurement is a key task in nutritional management. However, our results once highlight limitations in this process. It is not enough to design laws and accreditation standards for the European Community; enforcement should be also checked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-147
Number of pages3
JournalMediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


  • Health policies
  • Hospital malnutrition
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Scales calibration
  • Weighing scales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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