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Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Dec;52(6):1005-13.

Effects of common illnesses on infants' energy intakes from breast milk and other foods during longitudinal community-based studies in Huascar (Lima), Peru.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616.


To assess the effects of common infections on dietary intake, 131 Peruvian infants were observed longitudinally. Home surveillance for illness symptoms was completed thrice weekly, and food and breast-milk consumption was measured during 1615 full-day observations. Mean (+/- SD) energy intakes on symptom-free days were 557 +/- 128 kcal/d (92.4 +/- 26.5 for infants aged less than 181 d and 638 +/- 193 kcal/d (77.7 +/- 25.7 for infants aged greater than 180 d. Statistical models controlling for infant age, season of the year, and individual showed significant 5-6% decreases in total energy intake during diarrhea or fever. There were no changes with illness in the frequency of breast-feeding, total suckling time, or amount of breast-milk energy consumed. By contrast, energy intake from non-breast-milk sources decreased by 20-30% during diarrhea and fever, and the small decrements in total energy consumption during illness were explained entirely by reduced consumption of non-breast-milk foods.

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