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close this bookActivity, Energy Expenditure and Energy Requirements of Infants and Children (International Dietary Energy Consultative Group - IDECG, 1989, 412 pages)
close this folderEnergy cost of communicable diseases in infancy and childhood
close this folder3. Effects of infection on energy status
View the document3.1. Anorexia
View the document3.2. Decreased dietary thermogenesis
View the document3.3. Cultural and therapeutic practices
View the document3.4. Malabsorption
View the document3.5. Metabolic effects
View the document3.6. Fever
View the document3.7. Additional intestinal loss
View the document3.8. Anabolic responses during infection
View the document3.9. Reduced growth and weight loss

3.3. Cultural and therapeutic practices

Withdrawal of solid food from individuals with fever, diarrhea, or other symptoms of infection is an almost universal practice that results in decreased caloric intake. While consumption of food is also reduced by anorexia, the purposeful withholding of food has a significant impact.

Moreover, the food offered is likely to be gruels and beverages of low caloric density. For example, in Guatemala, children with measles are frequently given tea (agua de tisana) made from a local wild plant.

Many years ago, CHUNG and VISCOROVA (1948) showed that the common practice of withholding food from children with diarrhea adversely affected their recovery. Figure 8 shows the difference in intake by children with diarrhea who were not fed during illness and experimentally those given a good diet. Although the children given food had an increased stool volume, they also absorbed more dietary energy and protein and recovered sooner. Many similar studies have followed, and it is now strongly recommended that food not be withdrawn during diarrhea and other infections.


Figure 8. Percentage of normal intake consumed per day in starved group and fed group. (CHUNG et al., 1948)