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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan;83(1):70-4.

Body composition in children in remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Children's Nutrition Research Centre, Discipline of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Queensland, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Australia.



Changes in body composition are commonly reported in pediatric survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, the effect of ALL and of its treatment on body composition in children in remission from ALL has not been fully examined with the use of a reference method.


We aimed to determine the body composition and composition of fat-free mass (FFM) in children in remission from ALL. We also aimed to compare the effects that prednisolone and dexamethasone had on the body composition of an ALL survivor population.


This cross-sectional study measured height, weight, body volume, total body water, and bone mineral content in 24 children in remission from ALL and 24 age-matched, healthy control subjects. Body composition and FFM composition were evaluated by using the 4-component model.


The mean body mass index and fat mass index were significantly (P = 0.05 for both) higher in the ALL survivors than in age-matched control subjects. The composition of the FFM in the 2 treatment groups was not observed to differ significantly. Examination of the composition of FFM made it evident that children in remission from ALL had both significantly greater hydration (P = 0.001) and lower density (P = 0.0001) of FFM than did the control children.


Children in remission from ALL may develop excess body fat. To measure body composition accurately in an ALL population, the high hydration and low density of FFM in this population should be taken into consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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