ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Oct. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- (NYSE: ABT) – A new study has found that the use of oral nutritional supplements provided to pediatric patients during hospitalization was associated with a decrease in length of stay of 14.8 percent and a decrease in hospital stay costs of $1,768 per patient. The study, conducted by leading researchers at the University of Southern California, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Precision Health Economics, and supported by Abbott, is being presented this weekend at the 2013 North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Annual Meeting in Chicago. The 11-year retrospective study (2000-2010) was analyzed using the Premier Research Database, which contains data on more than half a million hospitalized pediatric cases for patients aged 2 to 8 years. This study is the latest in health economics and outcomes research to illustrate the impact of oral nutrition supplement use in hospitalized patients. "Malnutrition in children is associated with poor health outcomes and this is especially important in the hospitalized child," said Maria Mascarenhas, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Nutritional support is a critical component of the clinical management for pediatric inpatients, but it is often overlooked due to other medical issues." In the study, investigators were able to determine differences in length of stay and cost of care by comparing hospital stays in which oral nutritional supplements were prescribed to hospital stays of similar conditions where oral nutritional supplements weren't prescribed. Oral nutritional supplements are dietary food, often in liquid form, that provide protein, nutrients and calories for added nutrition and energy in one's diet.