Nutritional status and dietary intake of children with acute leukaemia during induction or consolidation chemotherapy

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The assessment of nutritional status among paediatric patients is important for the planning and execution of nutritional strategies that strive to optimise the quality of life and growth among sick children. The present study aimed to evaluate the nutritional status and dietary intake among children with acute leukaemia.


This cross-sectional study included 53 paediatric patients aged 3–12 years old, who were diagnosed with either acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or acute myelogenous leukaemia and were undergoing chemotherapy treatments (induction or consolidation phase). Patients were matched for sex, age (±6 months) and ethnicity with healthy children as controls. Weight, height, body mass index, waist circumference, mid-upper arm circumference, triceps skinfold thickness, mid-upper arm muscle area and fat area were determined. Dietary intake was assessed using 3-day food records.


Anthropometric variables were generally higher among patients compared to controls, although the differences were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). The prevalence of overnutrition among patients according to body mass index-for-age, waist circumference-for-age, mid-upper arm circumference-for-age and triceps skinfold-for-age were 24.5%, 29.1%, 17.0% and 30.2%, respectively. Mean energy [5732 ± 1958 kJ (1370 ± 468 kcal) versus 6945 ± 1970 kJ (1660 ± 471 kcal), P < 0.01], protein (50.0 ± 19.7 g versus 62.3 ± 22.3 g, P < 0.01) and fat (43.6 ± 18.9 g versus 58.3 ± 16.7, P < 0.001) intakes of patients were significantly lower than controls.


The prevalence of being overweight and obesity in children with acute leukaemia was higher despite lower energy intake compared to controls. Studies assessing physical activity, the complex interaction and the effects of treatment drugs are warranted to better manage malnutrition among paediatric patients.

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