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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


FERREIRA, Haroldo S.  and  FRANCA, Adijane O.S.. Evolution of nutritional status in hospitalized children. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.6, pp.491-496. ISSN 0021-7557.

Objective: to assess the evolution of nutritional status in children admitted to the Teaching Hospital of Universidade Federal de Alagoas. Methods: a retrospective study was performed on 52 children (0 - 10yrs) whose length of hospital stay exceeded 10 days (from February to July/2001). We compared their nutritional status, expressed in terms of Z score of the weight-for-age ratio at the beginning (T1) and at the end of the hospitalization period (T2). Results: the predominant age range (44.2%) was less than 1 year (median=1.4yrs). The hospitalization period varied from 10 to 77 days (median=20 days). Although the prevalence rates of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) in T1 and T2 were, respectively, 71.2% and 69.2%, only 15.4% had this diagnosis on the medical records. These children diagnosed with protein-energy malnutrition presented extreme wasting and greater length of hospital stay than the others (PEM, n=8: -4.38±2.1, T=30 ± 4.5; undiagnosed PEM, n=13: -3.13±0.9, T=23±18; other conditions, n=31: -0.63±1.1, T=21±13). Among the 52 children analyzed, only 29 showed positive weight variation. However, the average magnitude of negative Z values was higher than that of positive values: -0.56 and 0.50. Children who remained in hospital for a longer period of time showed larger weight deficits, indicating that hospitalization did not contribute towards the improvement of their initial nutritional status. Conclusion: the prevalence of weight-for-age deficit among children at hospital admission was very high. This situation remained unchanged at hospital discharge.

Keywords : nutrition assessment; anthropometry; hospitalized child; nutricional status.

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