Anthropometric Measures in Children with Renal Failure



Anthropometric and body composition assessments provide important information about the nutritional status of dialysis patients. A nutritional assessment by a trained dietitian is therefore recommended for patients diagnosed with renal disease because they are frequently in poor nutritional health. Knowledge of the nutritional health of patients with renal disease is necessary to prescribe and monitor appropriate clinical and nutrition therapies. Anthropometrical methods occupy a meaningful role in assessing the nutritional status of patients with renal disease, are cost-effective screening techniques for describing body size, and they are well suited for identifying levels of body composition, nutritional status or risk for disease. However, children with renal disease present special problems for anthropometry, including decreased functional status and increased comorbidity, which challenge nutrition assessment methodology. Measures of weight, stature, calf circumference, arm circumference and triceps and subscapular skinfolds have therefore been reported for dialysis patients, who tend to be shorter, lighter and have less adipose tissue than healthy persons of the same age. Other techniques to assess body composition are dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), bioelectrical impedance, total body water (TBW) and prediction equations. However, irrespective of the technique to be used, all are validated in healthy individuals based on the assumption that body composition parameters are relatively static, which isn’t the case in renal patients. Anthropometric measurements should be an integral component of the routine care of the child and adolescent with renal disease.


Renal Disease Body Composition Anthropometric Measurement Growth Velocity Hydration Status 



Chronic renal failure


End stage renal disease


Body mass index


Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry


Total body water


Fat free mass


Bioelectrical impedendance


Growth hormone


Insulin-like growth factor-1


Total body potassium


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical NutritionRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Murdoch Childrens Research InstituteParkvilleAustralia

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