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An observational study to evaluate micronutrient status during enteral feeding
  1. T E Johnson1,
  2. S J Janes1,
  3. A MacDonald1,
  4. M Elia2,
  5. I W Booth3
  1. 1Dietetics Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, UK
  3. 3Institute of Child Health, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr T E Johnson, Dietetics Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK;


Background: There are few data on the optimal micronutrient composition of paediatric enteral feeds. The recent European Directive on Foods for Special Medical Purposes (1999/21/EC) did not distinguish between the composition of adult and paediatric feeds.

Aims: To evaluate, in an open, observational study, the long term nutritional biochemistry of 12 children aged 1–6 years and/or 8–20 kg.

Methods: The children were receiving at least 50% of their estimated average requirement (EAR) for energy from paediatric enteral formulae: 1.0 kcal/ml (Nutrison Paediatric Standard) or 1.5 kcal/ml (Nutrison Paediatric Energy Plus). Venous blood samples for trace elements, vitamins, and minerals were taken at study entry and six months later. Parents kept three day food and feed records every month.

Results: Despite a median energy intake of only 75% EAR (range 52–158%), 67% (n = 8) achieved their reference nutrient intake (RNI) for all micronutrients. No significant micronutrient deficiencies were seen on blood analysis after six months. Eighty three per cent (n = 10) had vitamin B12 and 92% (n = 11) had copper intake >150% RNI. Fifty eight per cent (n = 7) had high plasma B12 (>733 μmol/l) and 75% (n = 9) had high serum copper (>22 μmol/l) concentrations.

Conclusions: Children without excess losses maintain adequate micronutrient status on long term enteral feeding. Subjects had high blood concentrations of vitamin B12 and copper, and had high dietary intakes of these micronutrients. We suggest that the maximum nutrient guidelines for paediatric enteral feeds should be more clearly defined.

  • micronutrient
  • enteral
  • nutrition
  • EAR, estimated average requirement
  • NPEP, Nutrison Paediatric Energy Plus
  • NPS, Nutrison Paediatric Standard
  • RNI, reference nutrient intake

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