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Br Med J. 1972 February 5; 1(5796): 331–333.
PMCID: PMC1787242

Influence of Malnutrition on the Body Temperature of Children


The mean auricular temperature of 10 malnourished Jamaican infants was 0·84°C lower on admission to hospital than it was after recovery. Body temperature was influenced by ambient temperature in the malnourished state. During the rapid growth that accompanies recovery the mean auricular temperature was raised. Five malnourished children with hypothermia were given a standard high-calorie feed, and this caused the body temperature to return to normal levels within two hours in every case. These results suggest that reduced mean temperature in malnourished children may be an adaptation to conserve calories, and that severe hypothermia in malnutrition results from an acute shortage of energy reserves. Frequent feeding of malnourished children is most important in their management.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Ashworth A. Metabolic rates during recovery from protein-calorie malnutrition: the need for a new concept of specific dynamic action. Nature. 1969 Jul 26;223(5204):407–409. [PubMed]
  • Ashworth A. Malnutrition and metabolic rates. Nutr Rev. 1970 Nov;28(11):279–281. [PubMed]
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  • MORLEY DC. Cold injury among children severely ill in the tropics. Lancet. 1960 Nov 26;2(7161):1170–1171. [PubMed]
  • Staff TH. Treatment of severe kwashiorkor and marasmus in hospital. East Afr Med J. 1968 Jun;45(6):399–406. [PubMed]
  • Wharton B. Hypoglycaemia in children with kwashiorkor. Lancet. 1970 Jan 24;1(7639):171–173. [PubMed]

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