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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Sep;65(3):332-337. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001577.

Dietary Inadequacies in HIV-infected and Uninfected School-aged Children in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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*Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University, New York, NY †Empilweni Services and Research Unit, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa ‡Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY §Institute of Human Nutrition ||Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons ¶Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.



The World Health Organization recommends that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children increase energy intake and maintain a balanced macronutrient distribution for optimal growth and nutrition. Few studies have evaluated dietary intake of HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the dietary intake of 220 perinatally HIV-infected children and 220 HIV-uninfected controls ages 5 to 9 years in Johannesburg, South Africa. A standardized 24-hour recall questionnaire and software developed specifically for the South African population were used to estimate intake of energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Intake was categorized based on recommendations by the World Health Organization and Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges established by the IOM.


The overall mean age was 6.7 years and 51.8% were boys. Total energy intake was higher in HIV-infected than HIV-uninfected children (1341 vs 1196 kcal/day, P = 0.002), but proportions below the recommended energy requirement were similar in the 2 groups (82.5% vs 85.2%, P = 0.45). Overall, 51.8% of the macronutrient energy intake was from carbohydrates, 13.2% from protein, and 30.8% from fat. The HIV-infected group had a higher percentage of their energy intake from carbohydrates and lower percentage from protein compared with the HIV-uninfected group. Intakes of folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and selenium were suboptimal for both groups.


Our findings suggest that the typical diet of HIV-infected children and uninfected children in Johannesburg, South Africa, does not meet energy or micronutrient requirements. There appear to be opportunities for interventions to improve dietary intake for both groups.

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