Body Compartment Changes in Sick Children
The body composition of children changes with growth and development (Pencharz, 1985). It is also affected by disease and the nutritional status of the child. Our group has been particularly interested in the changes due to disease and nutritional perturbations (Pencharz, 1988). A powerful motivation for this interest has come from our clinical responsibilities in practising nutritional medicine. Being able to assess the body composition of children is a key component of assessing and Monitoring their nutritional status. Traditionally, paediatricians have measured anthropometric variables like weight and height. By taking serial measurements it was possible to monitor not only the weight of the child but also to measure growth rates. These measurements, although useful, are not sufficient in themselves. It is necessary to be able to measure changes in the lean body mass of children in response to disease and treatment. Further, it is necessary to be able to monitor body cell mass (i.e. intracellular mass) as related to extracellular mass. The two components when summed make up lean body mass. Within body cell mass there are important constituents like protein, water, and the major intracellular cation potassium. The ratio of these Constituents do vary from tissue to tissue, but are relatively constant in a healthy individual of a given gender and age.
KeywordsCystic Fibrosis Body Composition Anorexia Nervosa Lean Body Mass Total Body Water
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