Gut Interactions with Brain and Environment in Children; First International Symposium on Pediatric Neurogastroenterology Capri, Italy, September 18-20, 1997
Body composition of 41 subjects, 22 males and 19 females, affected by Spina Bifida disease was evaluated by anthropometric methods and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA Hologic QDR 1000). Anthropometric data were analyzed in relation to age (2-8 years), sex and ability in walking.
Scattergram of weight for females (39th percentile) and males (48th percentile) showed that these subjects were significantly underweigth. Similarly height was reduced when compared with reference values (10th percentile for females and 7th centiles for males). T-test for indipendent samples showed a significant difference in weight and height between walking (M12, F10) and non-walking subjects (M10, F9); weight was 34th percentile in non-walking and 47th in walking,while height was 3th percentile and 10th percentile respectively. Moreover the walking female group was higher than non-walking group (p=.03). Body fat, as a percentage of body weight (assessed with anthropometric methods) was greater than expected ranging from 12.5% to 46.6% without significant difference between the walking and non-walking groups (25.9% and 24.5% respectively) and between males and females (23.1% and 28.3%). Bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) were evaluated to provide further informations on body composition. The mean BMD at femoral neck was significantly low in all patients (Z-score: -0.97±0.74) and lower in males than in females (Z-score: -1.20±0.70 vs -0.70±0.71) and in non walking compared to walking group (Z-score: -1.61±0.47 vs - 0.73±0.69, p=0.005).
We conclude that children with spina bifida were shorter and underweight compared with reference values, but they showed an excess of fat as percentage of body weight. The ability in walking seems to be very important in promoting normal body and bone growth and female group showed a greater improvement compared to males.