Nutritional status and weight gain in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in Tanzania

N Kennedy, A Ramsay, L Uiso, J Gutmann, F I Ngowi, S H Gillespie

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81 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed nutritional status in 200 adult Tanzanian patients with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis before, during, and after 6 months of tuberculosis treatment; 148 patients (74%) were successfully followed for 12 months. Marked nutritional impairment was present on admission: 77% of males and 58% of females had a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5; approximately one-fifth had BMI < 16.0. The length of hospital stay and gender, rather than microbiological response, were the major determinants of weight gain during treatment. Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gained more weight than uninfected patients. Most patients lost weight after completing treatment and returning home. At 12 months, dB 32% of male and 19% of female patients considered cured of tuberculosis had BMI < 18.5. It is concluded that patients with tuberculosis from this area of Tanzania frequently have evidence of malnutrition both before and after treatment for tuberculosis. Weight gain during therapy appeared to be an unreliable indicator of overall treatment response. However, the results also demonstrated that nutritional rehabilitation can be successfully achieved even in HIV-positive tuberculosis patients and in patients with a suboptimal response to therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents/therapeutic use
  • Body Mass Index
  • Drug Therapy, Combination/therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders/complications
  • Nutritional Status
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Tanzania
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary/complications
  • Weight Gain


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