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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2001 June;53(3):183-8

language: Italian

Nutritional status disorders prevalence rates in a sample of pediatric oncology Day Hospital patients

Schiavetti A., Fornari C., Guidi R., Scioli S., Varrasso G., Maurizi P., Castello M. A.


Background. Nutritional status is more important in children than in adults because it is necessary to support normal growth and development. In industrialized countries the prevalence of nutritional status disorders in the pediatric population are as follows: 35-40% of children are overweight/obese, while the underweight status disappeared in some reports or, when it is present, it is associated with other diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence rates of nutritional status disorders among an unselected sample of Pediatric Oncology Day Hospital patients.
Methods. Anthropometric parameters of weight and height have been measured in patients affected with solid tumor either on-therapy or off-therapy (0-24 mo). Then Real Body Weigth (% RBW) was estimated referring to National Center for Health Statistic percentiles. The sample was then divided into 4 weight classes (under-weight, normal-weight, over-weight and obese) according to % RBW.
Results. Overweight patients (overweight + obese) were 44.4%, and 13.9% underweight. Dividing the patients according to whether they are on-therapy or off-therapy, the prevalence of overweight was 36.9% in the former group and 52.9% in the latter, and the underweight prevalence was 26.3 vs 0%.
Conclusions. Our preliminary data show that in this sample of patients on treatment obesity and overweight are present in a similar percentage of the healthy population, but underweight status prevalence is 26.3%. In the sample of patients off-therapy the underweight status disappeared while the overweight status increased. These data suggest that nutritional assessment in oncologic patients is required in order to provide nutritional strategies.

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