Impact of COVID-19 Infection and Persistent Lingering Symptoms on Patient Reported Indicators of Nutritional Risk and Malnutrition

Rachel R. Deer, Erin Hosein, Madelyn Harvey, Trang Nguyen, Amy Givan, Megan Hamilton, Kayla Turner, Rae Kretzmer, Madeline Rock, Maria C. Swartz, Justin Seashore, Blair Brown, Christopher Messenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Persistent malnutrition after COVID-19 infection may worsen outcomes, including delayed recovery and increased risk of rehospitalization. This study aimed to determine dietary intakes and nutrient distribution patterns after acute COVID-19 illness. Findings were also compared to national standards for intake of energy, protein, fruit, and vegetables, as well as protein intake distribution recommendations. Participants (≥18 years old, n = 92) were enrolled after baseline visit at the Post-COVID Recovery Clinic. The broad screening battery included nutritional assessment and 24-h dietary recall. Participants were, on average, 53 years old, 63% female, 69% non-Hispanic White, and 59% obese/morbidly obese. Participants at risk for malnutrition (48%) experienced significantly greater symptoms, such as gastric intestinal issues, loss of smell, loss of taste, or shortness of breath; in addition, they consumed significantly fewer calories. Most participants did not meet recommendations for fruit or vegetables. Less than 39% met the 1.2 g/kg/day proposed optimal protein intake for recovery from illness. Protein distribution throughout the day was skewed; only 3% met the recommendation at all meals, while over 30% never met the threshold at any meal. Our findings highlight the need for nutritional education and support for patients to account for lingering symptoms and optimize recovery after COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number642
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Dietary recall
  • Eating pattern
  • Malnutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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