Improving nutritional status of children with cystic fibrosis at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

Van Der Spuy D.A. ; Cader S. ; Van Der Spuy G.D. ; Westwood A.T. (2011)


Aim: To determine the nutritional status of children attending a cystic fibrosis clinic in a tertiary hospital in South Africa and compare it to previously reported 10-year rates. Methods: Weights and heights were measured of 69 (37 male and 32 female) children aged between 1 year and 18 years. Expected weight-for-age, expected height-for-age, expected weight-for-height and body mass index (BMI) were compared with international standards for underweight, stunting, wasting and BMI goal. Results: The nutritional status of the patients has improved over the last 10 years, most significantly for wasting, which decreased from 58.3% in 1996 to 15.9% in 2006 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.315-14.09, P < 0.05). Fifty-two percent of the children were underweight in 2006, compared with 66.7% in 1996 (95% CI, 0.044-13.96, P < 0.05). Stunting was found in 31.9% of the current sample. Females over 15 years had expected weight-for-age 25.9% lower than those between 10 years and 15 years, while no difference was found between the male age groups. Female height-for-age was 7.06 percentage points greater than males between 10 years and 15 years (95% CI, 2.16-11.96, P < 0.01). Males between 10 years and 15 years had significantly lower BMIs than the corresponding female group. Coloured patients had significantly lower BMIs than white patients in all age groups. Conclusions: These children demonstrated continuing improvement in nutritional status, although deficits remain. The normalisation of mean weight-for-age and weight-for-height with far fewer wasted patients is encouraging. Interventions are needed in some areas to ensure that all children show progress. © 2011 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

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