Study of biochemical and nutritional indicators in severe acute malnutrition: A prospective observational study

  • M Lakshmi
  • S K Sreenivas
  • N A Pavitra
  • Sudheendra Nath


Background: Malnutrition in children is widely prevalent in developing countries including India. More than 33% of the
deaths in 0-5 years are associated with malnutrition. Children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) are in danger of death from
hypoglycemia, hypothermia, fluid overload, electrolyte mismanagement, and undetected infections. Hence, biochemical and
nutritional indicators in these children are important for management. Objectives: To study the biochemical and nutritional indicators
in children with SAM. Methods: This hospital based prospective study was conducted on children aged 6-59 months admitted at
Nutrition Rehabilitation Center attached to a tertiary care teaching institution. 100 consecutive SAM children admitted during
2013-2015 were studied. Children were tested for biochemical and nutritional status like complete blood picture with peripheral
smear, liver function tests, renal function tests, serum electrolytes, calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase. Results: A total
of 100 cases were included, of these 57 were male and female were 43. Mean age of presentation was 18.45±2.37 months. A lack of
exclusive breastfeeding was seen in 67% of these children and in 78% children complimentary feeds were initiated either early or
later than 6 months. Hypoglycemia was seen in 15% cases, hypokalemia in 22%, and hypocalcemia in 35% of cases. Hyponatremia
was seen in 14% and hypernatremia in 19% of the children. The most common type of anemia was microcytic hypochromic
type (55%). Conclusion: The observations in this study confirm a significant association between SAM and faulty feeding and
early introduction of complementary feeds. It was observed that these children have significant alterations in nutritional indicators
at admission.

Keywords: Biochemical markers, Severe acute malnutrition, Nutritional indicators
217 Views | 86 Downloads
How to Cite
Lakshmi, M., Sreenivas, S., Pavitra, N., & Nath, S. (2017). Study of biochemical and nutritional indicators in severe acute malnutrition: A prospective observational study. Indian Journal of Child Health, 3(4), 314-316. Retrieved from
Original Articles