Nutrition Journal, January 11, 2019

Samira Fernandes Morais dos Santos, Fernanda Valente Mendes Soares, Andrea Dunshee de Abranches, Ana Carolina Carioca da Costa, Maria Elisabeth Lopes Moreira, Vania de Matos Fonseca


Children with microcephaly due to vertical exposure to Zika virus are an interesting population for investigation. Highlighted among their unique aspects are those related to nutrition due to its impact on child growth and development. Knowledge about the nutrition of microcephalic infants can help mothers and caregivers provide better care. Thus, this study aimed to describe the nutritional status and feeding practices of infants with microcephaly due to Zika virus exposure at birth and 12–23 months of age.

This is a descriptive study developed from a cohort of patients attending a public institution of reference. A total of 65 infants attended outpatient nutrition clinics. The food practices were described using the 24-h food recall and food consumption indicators. Anthropometric measurements and consultations were made using the Child Health Handbook to obtain information on the nutritional status (weight, height and head circumference) at the time of consultation and birth.

There was a significant decrease in z-scores for weight, height and head circumference (HC) from birth to the time of the consultation. However, most infants did not show weight-for-height deficits. Additionally, HC was correlated with the anthropometric indices weight-for-age, height-for-age, body mass index-for-age and weight-for-height.

Infants exhibited a worsening of their nutritional status between birth and the time of their consultation, notably when we evaluated the indices of height and head circumference for age. The main inadequacies regarding dietary practices were low food diversity, use of ultra-processed products and low lipid intake.

Find out more