A model predicting the nutritional cost of measles has been based on data from a study of energy balance in Kenyan children during and after measles. The energy shortfall, consequent upon a reduction in energy intake and a sustained level of energy expenditure, is met by tissue catabolism. The magnitude of resulting weight loss will be greater in lean than in plump children. During recovery, the intake of gross dietary energy to regain lost weight must take account of obligatory energy losses in stool and urine and also of the energy cost of biosynthesis. The speed of recovery is influenced both by the energy density of the available food and its palatability. The nutritional cost of infection and other illnesses causing negative energy balance will be greater to lean people whose diet is of low energy density.
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