Introduction: The history of HIV infection has always been associated with patient nutritional problems, initially in the form of wasting syndrome, and since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy such metabolic disorders as lipodystrophy, obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia that are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases have been observed.
Aim: evaluation of nutritional disorders in HIV infected patients using anthropometric parameters: waist circumference, BMI (body mass index) and WHR (waist-hip ratio).
Material and methods: the study included 72 HIV infected patients (48 men, 24 women, average age 39.4). The control group comprised 27 not infected subjects, matched for age and sex. Physical examination with measurements of body mass, height, waist and hip circumference was performed and the values of two anthropometric parameters--body mass index and waist/hip ratio were calculated.
Results: BMI in the group of HIV infected patients was significantly lower than in the control group (23.6 vs. 25.6 kg/m2, p = 0.01). These BMI values are normal, but significantly lower in HIV-infected men compared with not infected, and no differences were found between women. Infected men are less likely to be overweight and obese than not infected ones. Underweight was noted in 6.8% of patients from the study group (6% of men and 4% of women). WHR was significantly higher in the study group comparing with the healthy subjects (0.92 vs. 0.86 p = 0.002), which resulted from significantly lower hip circumference among the infected patients (93.0 vs. 98.3, p = 0.002). Waist circumference was similar in both groups (85.1 vs. 84.0). The WHR value in the infected women was a result of insignificantly higher waist circumference and lower hip circumference. HIV infected women have significantly more often too large waist circumference comparing with not infected ones (46% vs 0%, p = 0.01). In the group of infected men, the WHR value was significantly affected only by low hip circumference, and larger waist circumference was observed with the same frequency as in the control group. According to IDF criteria the central obesity was more frequent in HIV infected than in not infected patients. According to the WHO criteria it was more often diagnosed in infected women compared with not infected ones, which was not recorded in the male group.
Conclusions: The prevalence of overweight or obesity in the studied cohort of HIV infected patients is significantly lower than among the not infected people. At the same time the HIV infection is significantly more often accompanied by features of central obesity, expressed as abnormal waist circumference value. HIV infected patients have significantly lower BMI and higher WHR values. Higher WHR in the infected group is due to low hip circumference. HIV infected women usually have normal body weight and are significantly more likely than not infected women to show the features of central obesity as a result of increased waist circumference and low hip circumference. Men infected with HIV, compared with not infected ones, are characterized by lower, normal body weight, and their significantly higher WHR is determined by low value of hip circumference. Waist circumference seems to be an appropriate diagnostic criterion for central obesity in the studied population.