BACKGROUND: Malnutrition is an indicator of a poor prognosis in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Previous body-composition (BC) studies in children with CF used 2-component models (2CMs) to assess fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM), but to our knowledge no study has used the gold-standard 4-component model (4CM), which allows for a more accurate evaluation of the nature of both elements.
OBJECTIVE: We measured BC by using the 4CM in 6-12-y-old children with CF to 1) compare findings with those of healthy, matched control children and reference data; 2) relate BC to lung spirometry [forced expired volume in 1 s (FEV₁)]; and 3) compare findings with those from more commonly used 2CM techniques.
DESIGN: One hundred clinically stable children with CF (57% girls) aged 6-12 y were measured by using the 4CM. Children with CF underwent spirometry (FEV₁).
RESULTS: Girls with CF had significantly less FM than did healthy girls, even after adjustment for height and pubertal status; boys with CF had higher body mass index SD scores than did healthy boys. FM in girls was positively associated with the FEV₁ percentage predicted. The 2CM FM was significantly different from the 4CM FM, with differences dependent on sex and condition, although most techniques identified a relation between FM and FEV₁ in girls.
CONCLUSIONS: Although shorter than healthy children, boys with CF were heavier and had a BC within the normal range; however, girls with CF had lower FM than did healthy girls, and this was associated with poorer lung function. Given the worse prognosis in girls, this finding merits more attention. The reliability of 2CM techniques varied with sex and health status.