Objectives: To determine whether nutritional intake and status vary with age in children with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Methods: Case-control study examining differences in nutritional parameters and intakes in 58 children with CF recruited from a regional centre (2000-2001) and 45 controls. Participants were divided into age groups of 5-8 years, 9-12 years and 13-16 years. Weight, height, body mass index and standard deviation scores were recorded. A 4-day food diary (51 CF, 31 controls) was calculated for macronutrients and micronutrients.
Results: Energy intakes (%EAR) increased with age (112%, 115% and 116%, respectively) and were significantly higher in children with CF than controls. Lower weight and growth trends were observed in children ages 5 to 8 years (NS). Weight gain and growth was normal in children with CF ages 9 to 12 years but declined at 13 to 16 years (weight z score -0.85 vs 0.68 P = 0.003, height z score -0.54 vs 0.53 P = 0.002, body mass index z score -0.72 vs 0.41 P = 0.03). Lung function was the most significant predictor of nutritional status at 9 to 12 years (r2 = 0.37, P = 0.006) and 13 to 16 years (r2 = 0.31, P = 0.01), but was not significant in children ages 5 to 8 years.
Conclusion: Energy intakes increased with age in children with CF and exceeded that of healthy peers in all age groups. Weight gain and growth equaled that of healthy peers at 9 to 12 years but was suboptimal at 5 to 8 years and dramatically declines at 13 to 16 years. Energy intakes were unable to meet the clinical demands of children in these age groups. Both remain vulnerable and require greater nutritional targeting.