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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 - p 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.