Patterns of muscle and fat mass repair during recovery from advanced infantile protein-energy malnutrition

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jun;50(6):392-7.


Objective: This paper shows the pattern of body composition within the frame three-compartment model repair during recovery from advanced infantile protein-energy malnutrition.

Design: Body composition was assessed in 26 severely malnourished male infants aged 1-7 months at the time of their admission at Instituto Nacional de Pediatria in Mexico City and through the initial process of nutritional recovery (NR), by means of radiological, anthropometrical procedures and 24-h creatinine excretion at fortnightly intervals. Throughout of NR period all children were fed with milk formula (13-14% protein, 40% carbohydrates and the remainder fat).

Results: There was high frequencies of children's intakes were above the median (160 kCa1/k/d), but in last period their intakes were close to child normal requirements. Repletion of weight-for-height deficit was complete in all children. Leg-muscle roentgenographic area showed significantly increment in size only the first 15 days (P < 0.05). The leg-fat area showed size increments in all 15-day intervals (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). The leg-bone area did not show any change during NR. Body Weight as well as arm and arm-fat-free areas and calculated total muscle and fat body mass augmented significantly during nutritional rehabilitation (P < 0.01). However, the ratio of muscle to body mass increased only during the first month of NR (P < 0.05), while absolute and relative fat mass did so during the whole observation period (P < 0.05). The remainder of body organ mass (EOM) did not suffer any change during all NR period.

Conclusions: This dysrythmic repair of body compartments might offer explanation of certain features of psychomotor performance of infants recovering from severe protein-energy malnutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology*
  • Anthropometry
  • Arm
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / diet therapy
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / physiopathology
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / rehabilitation*
  • Radiography


  • Creatinine