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Food Intake, Growth and Body Composition of Children and Adolescents With Autoimmune Hepatitis

Cortez, Ana Paula Bidutte MSc*; de Morais, Mauro Batista MD, PhD*; Speridião, Patrícia da Graça Leite PhD; da Motta Mattar, Regina Helena Guedes MSc, MD*; Calanca, Flávia MD; Neto, Ulysses Fagundes PhD, MD*

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: March 2010 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 - pp 200-207
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181b9145a

Objective: To evaluate the food intake, anthropometry, body composition, and sexual maturity of children and adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis.

Methods: Thirty-seven children and adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis were studied. A questionnaire was given to evaluate food intake over a 24-hour period. Weight, height, and skin-fold thickness were measured. Electric impedance and skin-fold using Slaughter formula were used to evaluate body composition. Sexual maturity was evaluated using the Tanner stage method. Cumulative intake of corticosteroids was determined based on medical records.

Results: Most of the subjects were females (83.3%). Food intake did not meet recommended dietary intakes for energy, calcium, and vitamin A for 43.2%, 94.6%, and 59.4% of the patients, respectively. All subjects were in their respective pubertal developmental stage. A lower Z score for height-for-age (<−2.0 standard deviation) was found in 3/37 (10.5%) of the patients. Body fat over 30% was found in female patients by bioimpedance (41.9%) and skin-fold (45.2%) evaluation. There was a positive correlation between the 2 methods of measuring body fat (r=+0.800; P<0.001). A larger reduction (P<0.005) in Z score for height-for-age was observed in patients that received a cumulative dose of corticosteroids of more than 10.0 g.

Conclusions: Food intake in children and adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis is below recommended standards especially for energy, calcium, and vitamin A. Cumulative dose of corticoids was associated with reduction of Z score for height-for-age.

Departments of *Pediatric Gastroenterology

Adolescent Health

Nutrition Curse of Federal University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Source of funding: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).

Reprints: Mauro Batista de Morais, MD, PhD, Rua Pedro de Toledo, 441, 04039-031 São Paulo, SP, Brazil, (e-mail:

Received for publication February 24, 2009; accepted July 23, 2009

Conflict of interest: nothing to declare.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.