Document Detail


Severe nutritional deficiencies in toddlers resulting from health food milk alternatives.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11335767     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
It is widely appreciated that health food beverages are not appropriate for infants. Because of continued growth, children beyond infancy remain susceptible to nutritional disorders. We report on 2 cases of severe nutritional deficiency caused by consumption of health food beverages. In both cases, the parents were well-educated, appeared conscientious, and their children received regular medical care. Diagnoses were delayed by a low index of suspicion. In addition, nutritional deficiencies are uncommon in the United States and as a result, US physicians may be unfamiliar with their clinical features. Case 1, a 22-month-old male child, was admitted with severe kwashiorkor. He was breastfed until 13 months of age. Because of a history of chronic eczema and perceived milk intolerance, he was started on a rice beverage after weaning. On average, he consumed 1.5 L of this drink daily. Intake of solid foods was very poor. As this rice beverage, which was fallaciously referred to as rice milk, is extremely low in protein content, the resulting daily protein intake of 0.3 g/kg/day was only 25% of the recommended dietary allowance. In contrast, caloric intake was 72% of the recommended energy intake, so the dietary protein to energy ratio was very low. A photograph of the patient after admission illustrates the typical features of kwashiorkor: generalized edema, hyperpigmented and hypopigmented skin lesions, abdominal distention, irritability, and thin, sparse hair. Because of fluid retention, the weight was on the 10th percentile and he had a rotund sugar baby appearance. Laboratory evaluation was remarkable for a serum albumin of 1.0 g/dL (10 g/L), urea nitrogen <0.5 mg/dL (<0.2 mmol/L), and a normocytic anemia with marked anisocytosis. Evaluation for other causes of hypoalbuminemia was negative. Therapy for kwashiorkor was instituted, including gradual refeeding, initially via a nasogastric tube because of severe anorexia. Supplements of potassium, phosphorus, multivitamins, zinc, and folic acid were provided. The patient responded dramatically to refeeding with a rising serum albumin and total resolution of the edema within 3 weeks. At follow-up 1 year later he continued to do well on a regular diet supplemented with a milk-based pediatric nutritional supplement. The mortality of kwashiorkor remains high, because of complications such as infection (kwashiorkor impairs cellular immune defenses) and electrolyte imbalances with ongoing diarrhea. Children in industrialized countries have developed kwashiorkor resulting from the use of a nondairy creamer as a milk alternative, but we were unable to find previous reports of kwashiorkor caused by a health food milk alternative. We suspect that cases have been overlooked. Case 2, a 17-month-old black male, was diagnosed with rickets. He was full-term at birth and was breastfed until 10 months of age, when he was weaned to a soy health food beverage, which was not fortified with vitamin D or calcium. Intake of solid foods was good, but included no animal products. Total daily caloric intake was 114% of the recommended dietary allowance. Dietary vitamin D intake was essentially absent because of the lack of vitamin D-fortified milk. The patient lived in a sunny, warm climate, but because of parental career demands, he had limited sun exposure. His dark complexion further reduced ultraviolet light-induced endogenous skin synthesis of vitamin D. The patient grew and developed normally until after his 9-month check-up, when he had an almost complete growth arrest of both height and weight. The parents reported regression in gross motor milestones. On admission the patient was unable to crawl or roll over. He could maintain a sitting position precariously when so placed. Conversely, his language, fine motor-adaptive, and personal-social skills were well-preserved. Generalized hypotonia, weakness, and decreased muscle bulk were present. Clinical features of rickets present on examination included: frontal bossing, an obvious rachitic rosary (photographed), genu varus, flaring of the wrists, and lumbar kyphoscoliosis. The serum alkaline phosphatase was markedly elevated (1879 U/L), phosphorus was low (1.7 mg/dL), and calcium was low normal (8.9 mg/dL). The 25-hydroxy-vitamin D level was low (7.7 pg/mL) and the parathyroid hormone level was markedly elevated (114 pg/mL). The published radiographs are diagnostic of advanced rickets, showing diffuse osteopenia, frayed metaphyses, widened epiphyseal plates, and a pathologic fracture of the ulna. The patient was treated with ergocalciferol and calcium supplements. The published growth chart demonstrates the dramatic response to therapy. Gross motor milestones were fully regained within 6 months. The prominent neuromuscular manifestations shown by this patient serve as a reminder that rickets should be considered in the differential diagnosis of motor delay. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)
Authors:
N F Carvalho; R D Kenney; P H Carrington; D E Hall
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Pediatrics     Volume:  107     ISSN:  1098-4275     ISO Abbreviation:  Pediatrics     Publication Date:  2001 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-05-24     Completed Date:  2001-07-26     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376422     Medline TA:  Pediatrics     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  E46     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Affiliation:
Scottish Rite Pediatric and Adolescent Consultants, Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia 30342-1600, USA. drnorm@aol.com
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Beverages / adverse effects*
Health Food / adverse effects*
Humans
Infant
Infant Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis,  etiology*
Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Kwashiorkor / diagnosis,  etiology*
Male
Rickets / diagnosis,  etiology
Comments/Corrections
Comment In:
Pediatrics. 2001 Apr;107(4):E45   [PMID:  11335766 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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