Growth and Body Composition of Uninfected Children Exposed to Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Comparison with a Contemporary Cohort and United States National Standards


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo compare growth and body composition of uninfected children exposed to HIV with a contemporary HIV-unexposed group and to US references.Study designUninfected children exposed to HIV under 2 years were enrolled into a longitudinal observational study and unexposed children under 2 years of age in a cross-sectional evaluation. Weights, lengths, head circumferences, skinfold thicknesses, and arm and thigh circumferences were measured and adjusted for age using Centers for Disease Control and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey standards. Uninfected children exposed to HIV were compared with an unexposed nearest-neighbor matched comparison group. Uninfected children exposed to HIV were compared by age to Centers for Disease Control standards for growth measures and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey standards for body composition.ResultsOne hundred eleven uninfected children exposed to HIV and 82 children not exposed to HIV were evaluated. For the matched comparison for both groups, the mean age was 10 months, 59% were male, and 73% were African American. No statistical differences were found in anthropometric measurements between uninfected children who were or were not exposed to HIV. Uninfected children exposed to HIV were smaller than US standards at birth with mean (SD) weight-for-age and weight-for-length z-scores of −0.39 (1.06); P = .002 and −0.35 (1.04); P = .005, respectively. Over the first 2 years of life, there was a trend toward increasing weight-for-age z-score, length-for-age z-score, and weight-for-length z-score in uninfected children exposed to HIV. Subscapular and triceps skinfolds among uninfected children exposed to HIV were lower than national standards and there was a trend that mid-upper arm circumference decreased over time.ConclusionsGrowth and body composition of uninfected children who were or were not exposed to HIV were similar. Uninfected children exposed to HIV weigh less at birth and show a pattern of slightly accelerated growth in the first 2 years of life. Uninfected children exposed to HIV had less subcutaneous fat and decreasing mid-upper arm circumference over time when compared with US standards.

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