Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Topography in Long-Term Enterally Fed Children and Healthy Controls

Petra Silke Kaimbacher, Sandra Johanna Wallner-Liebmann, Marguerite Dunitz-Scheer, Peter Jaron Zwi Scheer, Gerhard Cvirn, Walter Schrabmair, Wolfgang Johann Schnedl, Michael John Hamlin, Erwin Tafeit


In the context of enteral feeding in children the influence on growth and the question of fat resorption is of great interest. We, therefore, measured the thickness of subcutaneous body fat in a sample of long-term enterally fed toddlers and healthy controls. In 33 long-term enterally fed toddlers (10 girls, 23 boys) and 275 healthy controls (128 girls, 147 boys) subcutaneous body fat was measured by means of the optical device Lipometer. All participants were divided into three age groups (infants, toddlers, children). The height (p=0.014, -11.7 cm, -12.5%) and weight (p=0.012, -3.0 kg, -21.9%) of long-term enterally fed female toddlers were significantly lower than healthy controls, while male enterally fed toddlers had lower values in all anthropometric measures compared to healthy controls: height (p=0.003, -8.0 cm, -8.4%), weight (p<0.001, -3.5 kg, -24.8%), BMI (p=0.004, -1.3 BMI), Z-score BMI (p=0.001, -1.2 Z-score BMI), upper arm circumference (p<0.001, -1.6 cm, -10.1%) and waist circumference (p<0.001, -6.2 cm, -12.5%). Tube fed toddlers showed a similar body fat distribution when compared to healthy controls, but demonstrated significantly lower values of anthropometric measurements. The results indicate that long-term enterally fed children have ample fat stores but lack physical development.


body composition; body fat distribution; lipometer; enteral feeding

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