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Infectious Diseases

Nutritional requirements in parasitic diseases.

Calloway DH
Rev Infect Dis 1982 Jul-Aug;4(4):891-5

"Nutritional requirements" means different things in different contexts. Generally, the term refers to national or international standards or allowances of nutrients. Concern here involves the potential need for a change of standards where conditions of disease prevail, because disease increases the nutritional requirements of most individuals. "Nutritional requirements" may also be viewed in terms of food supplies. Analysis of a number of studies indicates that the average growth deficit due to endemic infectious diseases in early life is less than or equal to 20 kcal per day (calculated as 5 kcal/g of tissue). Increased weight gain following treatment of intestinal parasites such as Ascaris lumbricoides or Giardia lamblia provides similar estimates, as does measurement of energy and protein absorption. These values are within normal variance estimates. Sick children do not eat well and apparently do not eat enough on healthy days to correct for the accrued food deficit. Research on nutritional requirements of children needs to focus on management of food resources in entire families.

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