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Clin Nutr. 1994 Aug;13(4):212-20.

Evaluation of nutritional counselling in HIV-associated malnutrition.

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Nutrition and HIV Infection Study Group, University of Cologne, Germany; Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Cologne, Germany.


In HIV-infected patients, the outcome of counselling as the first step of a nutritional intervention programme was evaluated, in order to identify clinical and nutritional predictors for its efficacy. 75 HIV-infected patients were investigated, most with advanced disease. Nutritional status was determined by body weight, bioelectrical impedance and 7-day food intake record. Prior mean weight loss was 10% (range = +4% to -31%). Counselling facilitated weight gain in 40 75 patients (1-4 months later, overall mean difference +1.4 +/- 6.2%) and in 14 34 patients (8-11 months later, overall mean difference -1.4 +/- 9.0%). Weight changes correlated with changes in body cell mass (r(2) = .69, p < .001) and in body fat (r(2) = .29, p < 0.05), but not extracellular mass. Underlying conditions such as AIDS definition, fever, and diarrhoea correlated to prior weight loss (p < .001) but not to the outcome of counselling. Low energy intake (before counselling, < 31.5 kcal/kg) did not correlate to prior weight loss but it predicted further weight loss (p < 0.05 towards normal intake). High energy intake (> 38.5 kcal/kg) correlated (p < 0.05) with more prior weight loss but not with further weight changes. Nutritional counselling may be an effective first-line intervention for malnourished HIV infected patients. More than half of patients gain weight without other nutritional treatment. Whereas the severity of malnutrition is influenced by the underlying disease, fever, and diarrhoea, the course of weight change after nutritional intervention is not. Counselling may reduce the nutritional impact of these risk factors. In patients with low spontaneous intake, efficacy of counselling alone is limited, but it may help to identify those who require more invasive nutritional treatment.


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