Careless talk

As the journal operates entirely electronically I am sometimes copied in to email exchanges between authors after decision letters are sent out regarding manuscripts. The scenario is that the email providing the decision is sent by ScholarOne to all of the authors of the paper. They then comment on the decision by hitting Reply All, and as a result I am copied in to their correspondence.

Most of the time I am tickled by the happy exchanges that go on, the ‘Well done everybody!’ messages, the ‘congratulations to all of the team’, etc. Sometimes though I see things that maybe the authors wouldn’t want to share with me. I have seen correspondence that basically amounts to ‘thank goodness for that. JHND was the 8th journal we tried…’, which is less amusing for me. The responses to rejection can also be illuminating and top of my list is the email that went from the lead author to all of his colleagues (and me), describing the reviewers as a bunch of fascists. 

Summer time

Apologies in advance to authors as we enter the summer period in the northern hemisphere. This time of year is especially difficult for us in trying to secure reviewers for manuscripts and to get those reviews back in a timely manner. This means that maintaining a fast turnaround becomes more challenging than usual.

And of course, the editors need a break too. Normal service will be restored as soon as possible.

Assessing body composition in post-menopausal women

Comparison of multi- and single-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for assessment of body composition in post-menopausal women: effects of body mass index and accelerometer-determined physical activity

Gaba et al., JHND Early View

Background
Bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) is commonly used in research to assess body composition. However, studies that validate the accuracy of BIA exclusively in post-menopausal women are lacking. The main purpose of the present study was to evaluate the agreement of multi-frequency (MF)-BIA and single-frequency (SF)-BIA with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in the estimation of fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) among post-menopausal women with variation in body mass index (BMI) and physical activity (PA).

Methods
FM and FFM were estimated by BIA and DXA in 146 post-menopausal women with a mean (SD) age of 62.8 (5.2) years. PA was determined by an accelerometer.

Results
The mean (SD) difference between MF-BIA and DXA was −1.8 (1.8) kg (P = 0.08) and 1.3 (1.8) kg (P = 0.01) for FM and FFM, respectively. SF-BIA provided a significantly lower estimate of FM [−2.0 (2.2) kg; P = 0.04] and a higher estimate of FFM [1.8 (2.4) kg; P < 0.01] compared to DXA. MF-BIA provided significantly better estimates of FM and FFM with narrower limits of agreement than SF-BIA in obese and insufficiently active subjects. In other BMI and PA groups, both BIA devices showed a similar deviation from DXA.

Conclusions
BIA tends to underestimate FM and overestimate FFM relative to DXA. MF-BIA appears to be a more appropriate method for the assessment of body composition than SF-BIA in post-menopausal woman with BMI >30 kg/m2 and in those who are insufficiently active.

Take a sneaky peek

Take a sneaky peek

The Editorial for the next issue of JHND is already available online at this link. Do take a look.

We are really keen to attract papers from the top authors in our field and have done a lot of work to make the journal more appealing. As shown in the editorial, our response times are much better than in the past and in the drive for quality our acceptance rate has fallen. As the title says- we are tougher but more rewarding.

Unsatisfactory complementary feeding practices in Sri Lanka

Current infant feeding practices and impact on growth in babies during the second half of infancy

Bandara et al., JHND Early View

Background

Sri Lanka has made remarkable improvements in health, social and educational indices. However, child malnutrition exists as a significant health problem. Infant feeding indicators have not reached expected levels and improvements are partly constrained by a lack of data. The present study aimed to determine current infant feeding practices and their impact on growth among 6–12-month-old infants.

Methods

The study comprised a descriptive cross-sectional investigation conducted in randomly selected (= 7) Public Health Midwife areas in Galle, Sri Lanka. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data on sociodemographics and infant feeding. Mothers (= 515) attending well-baby clinics were recruited on voluntary and consecutive basis. Infants’ body weights and lengths were measured using standard procedures.

Results

Exclusive breastfeeding rate for first 6 months was 49.0%. In total, 42.6% infants (219 out of 515) were given rice as first weaning food, followed by salt (58.6%) and sugar (42.3%). Oil had been introduced to 84.9% of infants by the end of 12 months. Most infants (over 71%) were given dairy products, whereas 62.3% were being fed various liquid foods using bottles. The introduction of commercial infant cereals, chocolates, plain tea, ice cream and deep fried snacks was noted. Age-specific body weight and length were not achieved by 30.5% and 29.5% of infants, respectively. Weight for length was not achieved by 25.5% of the infants. Delayed achievements of motor milestones were observed. Mothers’ knowledge scores on basic nutrients were low.

Conclusions

Complementary feeding indices of the study group were not satisfactory. Maternal and child healthcare personnel need to identify causative factors for inappropriate feeding with a view to improve the complementary feeding patterns.

Sex and body fat

Sex and age-related differences in perceived, desired and measured percentage body fat among adults

Campisi et al., JHND Early View

Background

Body image distortion/discrepancy leads to psychological stress, disordered eating and mental and physical disease. To begin to assess body image distortion/discrepancy, we compared perceived, desired and measured percentage body fat in male versus female and college-aged versus non-college aged individuals. In addition, we assessed the acute stress response to body composition measurement.

Methods

Body fat percentage of 15 college aged (‘College Students’; CS) (mean = 19 years) and 16 non-college aged (‘Non-College Aged Students’; NCS) (mean = 39 years) males and females was assessed with the BodPod Body Composition Tracking System (Life Measurement Instruments, Concord, CA, USA). Participants indicated their perception of body fat and their desired body fat using a somatomorphic matrix. Salivary cortisol, heart rate and blood pressure were also measured. Data were analysed by analysis of variance and alpha was set at 0.05.

Results

Mean (SD) percentage body fat of males [15.2% (6.1%] was significantly lower than that of females [28.4% (6.4%)] (P < 0.0001). Both CS and NCS females perceived their body fat to be lower (5%) than measured body fat and desired their body fat to be lower (12%) than measured (P < 0.05). CS and NCS male participants demonstrated the opposite result; both CS and NCS male populations perceived their body fat to be higher (5%) than measured body fat and desired their body fat to be higher (4%) than measured (P < 0.05). No differences between any groups were observed in heart rate, blood pressure or cortisol response to body fat measurement.

Conclusions

Sex-related but not age-related differences in perceived, desired and measured percentage body fat were observed.

Inadequate nutrition care in patients at risk of pressure ulcers

Nutrition care-related practices and factors affecting nutritional intakes in hospital patients at risk of pressure ulcers

Roberts et al., JHND Early View

Background

Malnutrition is common in hospitals and is a risk factor for pressure ulcers. Nutrition care practices relating to the identification and treatment of malnutrition have not been assessed in patients at risk of pressure ulcers. The present study describes nutrition care practices and factors affecting nutritional intakes in this patient group.

Methods

The study was conducted in four wards at two hospitals in Queensland, Australia. Adult patients at risk of pressure ulcers as a result of restricted mobility were observed for 24 h to determine their daily oral intake and practices such as nutrition screening, documentation and intervention. Independent samples t-tests and chi-squared tests were used to analyse dietary intake and nutrition care-related data. Predictors of receiving a dietitian referral were identified using logistic regression analyses.

Results

Two hundred and forty-one patients participated in the present study. The observed nutritional screening rate was 59% (142 patients). Weight and height were documented in 71% and 34% of cases. Sixty-nine patients (29%) received a dietitian referral. Predictors of receiving a dietitian referral included lower body mass index and longer length of stay. On average, patients consumed 73% and 72% of the energy and protein provided, respectively. Between 22% and 38% of patients consumed <50% of food provided at main meals.

Conclusions

Nutrition care practices including malnutrition risk screening and documentation of nutritional parameters appear to be inadequate in patients at risk of pressure ulcers. A significant proportion of these patients eat inadequately at main meals, further increasing their risk of malnutrition and pressure ulcers.

Inborn errors of protein metabolism and CVD risk

Cardiovascular disease biomarkers in patients with inborn errors of protein metabolism: a pilot study

Karam et al., JHND Early View

Background

Limited data exist so far on cardiovascular disease biomarkers in patients maintained on a protein-restricted diet for inborn errors of protein metabolism. The present study aimed to analyse plasma cholesterol, lipoproteins, triglycerides and total homocysteine in patients with various inborn errors of protein metabolism in comparison with healthy controls.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease biomarkers was conducted in a cohort of patients with inborn errors of protein metabolism: nine phenylketonuria, nine urea cycle defect, six branched chain organic acidaemia and two tyrosinaemia type I patients compared to 30 healthy controls. All patients were on a strict natural protein diet for a mean (SD) period of 5.37 (2.30) years (range 2–9 years). Dietary assessment, plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins and total homocysteine levels were obtained.

Results

There were no significant differences in blood lipid studies and total homocysteine levels between patients and controls.

Conclusions

The results obtained in this pilot study suggest that cardiovascular disease biomarkers are not increased in patients with inborn errors of protein metabolism. This may be explained by the possible protective effect of a mono- and polyunsaturated fat rich Mediterranean diet. Additional studies with a larger number of patients are needed to confirm this finding.