Background Despite recent technological advances, inadequate nutrition has been clearly identified as a significant risk factor to survival of paediatric cancer patients; having in view this issue we proposed to assess the nutritional status of children with cancer.
Methods We prospectively assessed 47 consecutively hospitalised patients in a tertiary emergency paediatric hospital. The patients were divided into two groups: Group I (17 patients with cancer) and Group II, the control group consisting of 30 age and gender-matched patients with different paediatric diseases. Weight (W), height (H), body mass index (BMI), middle upper arm circumference (MUAC), tricipital skinfold thickness (TST) were comparatively evaluated. Fat mass (FM), fat free mass (FFM), muscle mass (MM) and total body water (TBW) were measured in the both group using Tanita BC 420SMA Analyzer.
Results Anthropometric parameters in Group I were significantly different from those in Group II for MUAC (-0.10 DS vs 1.31 DS) and TST (-0.01 DS vs 1.35 DS) (p = 0.01). Group I had significantly lower percent FM (14.79 ± 7.14 vs 21.56 ± 9.06; p = 0.01) and significantly higher percent TBW (61.84 ± 4.93 vs 57.45 ± 6.64; p = 0.02) compared with Group II. No other significant differences in any body composition components were obtained.
Conclusions Children with cancer had higher alterations of nutritional status. The bioimpedance method provides important information on body composition and allows monitoring of nutritional risk.
Acknowledgment This paper is supported by the project 14/30.01.2013: ‘The assessment of nutritional status in children with cancer’, project financed by The University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Tîrgu-Mures, Romania.