Nutritional status in childhood malignancies


Nutritional status in childhood malignancies


Schiavetti A; Fornari C; Bonci E; Clerico A; Guidi R


Nutrition And Cancer




Child; Female; Humans; Male; Neoplasms; Pilot Projects; Neoplasms/complications; Lymphoma/complications; Nutritional Status/physiology; Body Mass Index; Body Weight/physiology; Complex and Mixed/complications; Germinoma/complications; Histiocytosis/complications; Neuroepithelial/complications; Nutrition Disorders/complications/epidemiology; Sarcoma/complications


In children affected by tumor, nutritional status is important to sustain aggressive chemotherapy and to support normal growth during and after therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of nutritional status disorders in a sample of pediatric oncology day-hospital patients. We measured weight and height in patients affected by solid tumors on or off therapy at short-term follow-up (1-24 mo). The study was performed at a pediatric oncology day-hospital over a period of 20 consecutive days. A suitable computer package was used to estimate relative body weight (%RBW) and body mass index (BMI) for each patient. Thereafter, the same sample was divided into four weight classes (underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese) according to %RBW and BMI. Moreover, patients were divided into two groups: on and off therapy. In the off-therapy group, no patient was underweight; in the on-therapy group, 26.3% and 15.8% of patients were underweight (not significant) according to %RBW and BMI, respectively. The prevalence of overweight (overweight ++obese) according to %RBW was 36.9% in the on-therapy group and 52.9% in the off-therapy group (P < 0.05); whereas the prevalence of overweight according to BMI was 21% in the on-therapy group and 35.3% in the off-therapy group (P = 0.05). These preliminary data suggest that, in pediatric oncology, nutritional assessment is required to provide nutritional strategies in on-therapy patients whose underweight status prevalence is impressive or in off-therapy children in whom the causes of overweight should be explored.


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Schiavetti A; Fornari C; Bonci E; Clerico A; Guidi R, “Nutritional status in childhood malignancies,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 10, 2023,