Unhealthy Diet in Children with Cancer: A Case-Reference Study
Objective: To explore the dietary intake of a children’s cohort with cancer incomparison with an age-matched cohort of healthy children.
We enrolled children with a confirmed diagnosis of cancer (solid tumors, brain and blood malignancies) aged 1-18 years and agematched children as controls. A 3-days standardized food record was collected by a dietician blinded to the diagnosis. Differences of consumptions of nutrients were compared by parametric and
non-parametric tests, as appropriate. A multivariate discriminant analysis was used to identify the most effective nutrients to discriminate between the patients and controls.
The diet of patients with solid tumors differed from that of the controls: they consumed a lower level of monounsaturated fats, a higher level of potential renal acid load and had a lower intake of vitamin E and B6. Children with blood malignancies showed greater differences with controls: they consumed lower quantities
of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, monounsaturated fats, fibers and higher quantities of potential renal acid load and cholesterol. A multivariate analysis iscriminated blood malignancy patients by controls, with 90% efficiency, by a lower intake of vitamin E, B6, saturated fats, starch and a higher intake of sodium and
This extensive analysis of nutrients showed imbalances from recommended dietary intake in children affected by cancer, with significantly less protective nutrients.