Nutritional status, dietary intake and serum levels of vitamin C upon diagnosis of cancer in children and adolescents
Introduction: The prevalence of malnutrition upon
diagnosis, together with reduced food intake secondary to
disease and treatment, make the periodic assessment of
nutritional status (including the intake of antioxidant
nutrients) of considerable importance to the follow up of
patients with cancer.
Objectives: Assess the nutritional status and frequency
of inadequate vitamin C levels among children and
adolescents with cancer at the beginning of treatment and
determine associated factors.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with
30 patients under 18 years. Nutritional status was assessed
using laboratory methods and anthropometric measurements.
Vitamin C adequacy was assessed through its
serum concentration and dietary intake.
Results: In the sample, 10% were short for their age
and 13.3% were underweight. The triceps skinfold
measurement revealed fat depletion in 68% and the arm
muscle circumference measurement revealed muscle
depletion in 32.0%. Seventy percent of the patients had
vitamin C deficiency and had greater weight loss, lower Z
scores for all anthropometric indicators analyzed, lower
serum albumin and higher C-reactive protein than those
without vitamin C deficiency, but these differences were
not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Children with cancer may have nutritional
deficits upon diagnosis. Further studies are needed
on the association between serum levels of antioxidant
and nutritional status in order to offer safe, effective