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HIV and severe wasting are associated with post-discharge mortality and hospital readmission among children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM); however, the reasons remain unclear. We assessed body composition at hospital discharge, stratified by HIV and oedema status, in a cohort of children with complicated SAM in three hospitals in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We measured skinfold thicknesses and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to investigate whether fat and lean mass were independent predictors of time to death or readmission. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the association between death/readmission and discharge body composition. Mixed effects models were fitted to compare longitudinal changes in body composition over 1 year. At discharge, 284 and 546 children had complete BIA and skinfold measurements, respectively. Low discharge lean and peripheral fat mass were independently associated with death/hospital readmission. Each unit Z-score increase in impedance index and triceps skinfolds was associated with 48 % (adjusted hazard ratio 0·52, 95 % CI (0·30, 0·90)) and 17 % (adjusted hazard ratio 0·83, 95 % CI (0·71, 0·96)) lower hazard of death/readmission, respectively. HIV-positive v. HIV-negative children had lower gains in sum of skinfolds (mean difference −1·49, 95 % CI (−2·01, −0·97)) and impedance index Z-scores (–0·13, 95 % CI (−0·24, −0·01)) over 52 weeks. Children with non-oedematous v. oedematous SAM had lower mean changes in the sum of skinfolds (–1·47, 95 % CI (−1·97, −0·97)) and impedance index Z-scores (–0·23, 95 % CI (−0·36, −0·09)). Risk stratification to identify children at risk for mortality or readmission, and interventions to increase lean and peripheral fat mass, should be considered in the post-discharge care of these children.
Early life exposures and growth patterns may affect long-term risk of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD). We followed up in adolescence two Zambian cohorts (n 322) recruited in infancy to investigate how two early exposures – maternal HIV exposure without HIV infection (HEU) and early growth profile – were associated with later anthropometry, body composition, blood lipids, Hb and HbA1c, blood pressure and grip strength. Although in analyses controlled for age and sex, HEU children were thinner, but not shorter, than HIV-unexposed, uninfected (HUU) children, with further control for socio-demographic factors, these differences were not significant. HEU children had higher HDL-cholesterol than HUU children and marginally lower HbA1c but no other biochemical or clinical differences. We identified three early growth profiles – adequate growth, declining and malnourished – which tracked into adolescence when differences in anthropometry and body fat were still seen. In adolescence, the early malnourished group, compared with the adequate group, had lower blood TAG and higher HDL, lower grip strength (difference: −1·87 kg, 95 % CI −3·47, −0·27; P = 0·02) and higher HbA1c (difference: 0·5 %, 95 % CI 0·2, 0·9; P = 0·005). Lower grip strength and higher HbA1c suggest the early malnourished children could be at increased risk of NCD in later life. Including early growth profile in analyses of HIV exposure reduced the associations between HIV and outcomes. The results suggest that perinatal HIV exposure may have no long-term effects unless accompanied by poor early growth. Reducing the risk of young child malnutrition may lessen children’s risk of later NCD.
Marriage during childhood and adolescence adversely affects maternal and child health and well-being, making it a critical global health issue. Analysis of factors associated with women marrying ≥18 years has limited utility in societies where the norm is to marry substantially earlier. This paper investigated how much education Nepali women needed to delay marriage across the range of ages from 15 to ≥18 years. Data on 6,406 women aged 23-30 years were analysed from the Low Birth Weight South Asia Trial on the early-marrying and low-educated Maithili-speaking Madhesi population in Terai, Nepal. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the associations of women’s education with marrying aged ≥15, ≥16, ≥17 and ≥18 years. Cox proportional hazards regression models quantified the hazard of marrying. Models adjusted for caste affiliation. Women married at median age of 15 years and three-quarters were uneducated. Women’s primary and lower-secondary education were weakly associated with delaying marriage, whether the cut-off to define early marriage was 15, 16, 17 or 18 years, with stronger associations for secondary education. Caste associations were weak. Overall, models explained relatively little of the variance in the likelihood of marriage at different ages. The joint effects of lower-secondary and higher caste affiliation and of secondary/higher education and mid and higher caste affiliation reduced the hazard of marrying. In early-marrying and low-educated societies, changing caste-based norms are unlikely to delay women’s marriage. Research on broader risk factors and norms that are more relevant for delaying marriage in these contexts is needed. Gradual increases in women’s median marriage age and increased secondary education may, over time, reduce child and adolescent marriage.
The study investigates sex differences in the prevalence of undernutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. Undernutrition was defined by Z-scores using the CDC-2000 growth charts. Some 128 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) were analysed, totalling 700,114 children under-five. The results revealed a higher susceptibility of boys to undernutrition. Male-to-female ratios of prevalence averaged 1.18 for stunting (height-for-age Z-score <−2.0); 1.01 for wasting (weight-for-height Z-score <−2.0); 1.05 for underweight (weight-for-age Z-score <−2.0); and 1.29 for concurrent wasting and stunting (weight-for-height and height-for-age Z-scores <−2.0). Sex ratios of prevalence varied with age for stunting and concurrent wasting and stunting, with higher values for children age 0–23 months and lower values for children age 24–59 months. Sex ratios of prevalence tended to increase with declining level of mortality for stunting, underweight and concurrent wasting and stunting, but remained stable for wasting. Comparisons were made with other anthropometric reference sets (NCHS-1977 and WHO-2006), and the results were found to differ somewhat from those obtained with CDC-2000. Possible rationales for these patterns are discussed.
There is limited information as to whether people who experience severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as young children are at increased risk of overweight, high body fat and associated chronic diseases in later life. We followed up, when aged 7–12 years, 100 Zambian children who were hospitalised for SAM before age 2 years and eighty-five neighbourhood controls who had never experienced SAM. We conducted detailed anthropometry, body composition assessment by bioelectrical impedance and deuterium dilution (D2O) and measured blood lipids, Hb and HbA1c. Groups were compared by linear regression following multiple imputation for missing variables. Children with prior SAM were slightly smaller than controls, but differences, controlling for age, sex, socio-economic status and HIV exposure or infection, were significant only for hip circumference, suprailiac skinfold and fat-free mass index by D2O. Blood lipids and HbA1c did not differ between groups, but Hb was lower by 7·8 (95 % CI 0·8, 14·7) g/l and systolic blood pressure was 3·4 (95 % CI 0·4, 6·4) mmHg higher among the prior SAM group. Both anaemia and high HbA1c were common among both groups, indicating a population at risk for the double burden of over- and undernutrition and associated infectious and chronic diseases. The prior SAM children may have been at slightly greater risk than the controls; this was of little clinical significance at this young age, but the children should be followed when older and chronic diseases manifest.
Functional benefits of the morphologies described by Bergmann's and Allen's rules in human males have recently been reported. However, the functional implications of ecogeographical patterning in females remain poorly understood. Here, we report the findings of preliminary work analysing the association between body shape and performance in female ultramarathon runners (n = 36) competing in hot and cold environments. The body shapes differed between finishers of hot and cold races, and also between hot race finishers and non-finishers. Variability in race performance across different settings supports the notion that human phenotype is adapted to different thermal environments as ecogeographical patterns have reported previously. This report provides support for the recent hypothesis that the heightened thermal strain associated with prolonged physical activity in hot/cold environments may have driven the emergence of thermally adaptive phenotypes in our evolutionary past. These results also tentatively suggest that the relationship between morphology and performance may be stronger in female vs. male athletes. This potential sex difference is discussed with reference to the evolved unique energetic context of human female reproduction. Further work, with a larger sample size, is required to investigate the observed potential sex differences in the strength of the relationship between phenotype and performance.
The normal adult MV area is 4–6 cm2. Unlike other heart valves, the MV consists of two asymmetric leaflets. The aortic (anterior) leaflet makes up 65% of the valve area but its base forms only 35% of the circumference. The mural (posterior) leaflet usually consists of three main scallops, although there may be up to five. The leaflets are joined at the anterolateral and posteromedial ends of the commissure. The aortic MV leaflet shares the same fibrous attachment as the non-coronary cusp of the AV.
Lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) may be beneficial for malnourished HIV-infected patients starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). We assessed the effect of adding vitamins and minerals to LNS on body composition and handgrip strength during ART initiation. ART-eligible HIV-infected patients with BMI <18·5 kg/m2 were randomised to LNS or LNS with added high-dose vitamins and minerals (LNS-VM) from referral for ART to 6 weeks post-ART and followed up until 12 weeks. Body composition by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), deuterium (2H) diluted water (D2O) and air displacement plethysmography (ADP), and handgrip strength were determined at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks post-ART, and effects of LNS-VM v. LNS at 6 and 12 weeks investigated. BIA data were available for 1461, D2O data for 479, ADP data for 498 and handgrip strength data for 1752 patients. Fat mass tended to be lower, and fat-free mass correspondingly higher, by BIA than by ADP or D2O. At 6 weeks post-ART, LNS-VM led to a higher regain of BIA-assessed fat mass (0·4 (95 % CI 0·05, 0·8) kg), but not fat-free mass, and a borderline significant increase in handgrip strength (0·72 (95 % CI −0·03, 1·5) kg). These effects were not sustained at 12 weeks. Similar effects as for BIA were seen using ADP or D2O but no differences reached statistical significance. In conclusion, LNS-VM led to a higher regain of fat mass at 6 weeks and to a borderline significant beneficial effect on handgrip strength. Further research is needed to determine appropriate timing and supplement composition to optimise nutritional interventions in malnourished HIV patients.
The study aimed at assessing stunting, wasting and breast-feeding as correlates of body composition in Cambodian children. As part of a nutrition trial (ISRCTN19918531), fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured using 2H dilution at 6 and 15 months of age. Of 419 infants enrolled, 98 % were breastfed, 15 % stunted and 4 % wasted at 6 months. At 15 months, 78 % were breastfed, 24 % stunted and 11 % wasted. Those not breastfed had lower FMI at 6 months but not at 15 months. Stunted children had lower FM at 6 months and lower FFM at 6 and 15 months compared with children with length-for-age z ≥0. Stunting was not associated with height-adjusted indexes fat mass index (FMI) or fat-free mass index (FFMI). Wasted children had lower FM, FFM, FMI and FFMI at 6 and 15 months compared with children with weight-for-length z (WLZ) ≥0. Generally, FFM and FFMI deficits increased with age, whereas FM and FMI deficits decreased, reflecting interactions between age and WLZ. For example, the FFM deficits were –0·99 (95 % CI –1·26, –0·72) kg at 6 months and –1·44 (95 % CI –1·69; –1·19) kg at 15 months (interaction, P<0·05), while the FMI deficits were –2·12 (95 % CI –2·53, –1·72) kg/m2 at 6 months and –1·32 (95 % CI –1·77, –0·87) kg/m2 at 15 months (interaction, P<0·05). This indicates that undernourished children preserve body fat at the detriment of fat-free tissue, which may have long-term consequences for health and working capacity.
To assess differences in cognition functions and gross brain structure in children seven years after an episode of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), compared with other Malawian children.
Prospective longitudinal cohort assessing school grade achieved and results of five computer-based (CANTAB) tests, covering three cognitive domains. A subset underwent brain MRI scans which were reviewed using a standardized checklist of gross abnormalities and compared with a reference population of Malawian children.
Children discharged from SAM treatment in 2006 and 2007 (n 320; median age 9·3 years) were compared with controls: siblings closest in age to the SAM survivors and age/sex-matched community children.
SAM survivors were significantly more likely to be in a lower grade at school than controls (adjusted OR = 0·4; 95 % CI 0·3, 0·6; P < 0·0001) and had consistently poorer scores in all CANTAB cognitive tests. Adjusting for HIV and socio-economic status diminished statistically significant differences. There were no significant differences in odds of brain abnormalities and sinusitis between SAM survivors (n 49) and reference children (OR = 1·11; 95 % CI 0·61, 2·03; P = 0·73).
Despite apparent preservation in gross brain structure, persistent impaired school achievement is likely to be detrimental to individual attainment and economic well-being. Understanding the multifactorial causes of lower school achievement is therefore needed to design interventions for SAM survivors to thrive in adulthood. The cognitive and potential economic implications of SAM need further emphasis to better advocate for SAM prevention and early treatment.
Early nutrition and growth have been found to be important early exposures for later development. Studies of crude growth in terms of weight and length/height, however, cannot elucidate how body composition (BC) might mediate associations between nutrition and later development. In this study, we aimed to examine the relation between fat mass (FM) or fat-free mass (FFM) tissues at birth and their accretion during early infancy, and later developmental progression. In a birth cohort from Ethiopia, 455 children who have BC measurement at birth and 416 who have standardised rate of BC growth during infancy were followed up for outcome variable, and were included in the statistical analysis. The study sample was restricted to mothers living in Jimma town who gave birth to a term baby with a birth weight ≥1500 g and no evident congenital anomalies. The relationship between the exposure and outcome variables was examined using linear-mixed regression model. The finding revealed that FFM at birth was positively associated with global developmental progression from 1 to 5 years (β=1·75; 95 % CI 0·11, 3·39) and from 4 to 5 years (β=1·34; 95 % CI 0·23, 2·44) in the adjusted model. Furthermore, the rate of postnatal FFM tissue accretion was positively associated with development at 1 year of age (β=0·50; 95 % CI 0·01, 0·99). Neither fetal nor postnatal FM showed a significant association. In conclusion, fetal, rather than postnatal, FFM tissue accretion was associated with developmental progression. Intervention studies are needed to assess whether nutrition interventions increasing FFM also increase cognitive development.
Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is an inexpensive, quick and non-invasive method to determine body composition. Equations used in BIA are typically derived in healthy individuals of European descent. BIA is specific to health status and ethnicity and may therefore provide inaccurate results in populations of different ethnic origin and health status. The aim of the present study was to test the validity of BIA in Ethiopian antiretroviral-naive HIV patients.
BIA was validated against the 2H dilution technique by comparing fat-free mass (FFM) measured by the two methods using paired t tests and Bland–Altman plots. BIA was based on single frequency (50 kHz) whole-body measurements. Data were obtained at three health facilities in Jimma Zone, Oromia Region, South-West Ethiopia. Data from 281 HIV-infected participants were available. Two-thirds were female and the mean age was 32·7 (sd 8·6) years. Also, 46 % were underweight with a BMI below 18·5 kg/m2. There were no differences in FFM between the methods. Overall, BIA slightly underestimated FFM by 0·1 kg (−0·1, 95 % CI −0·3, 0·2 kg). The Bland–Altman plot indicated acceptable agreement with an upper limit of agreement of 4·5 kg and a lower limit of agreement of −4·6 kg, but with a small correlation between the mean difference and the average FFM. BIA slightly overestimated FFM at low values compared with the 2H dilution technique, while it slightly underestimated FFM at high values. In conclusion, BIA proved to be valid in this population and may therefore be useful for measuring body composition in routine practice in HIV-infected African individuals.