Dietary intake and body composition in HIV-positive and -negative South African women

Stephanie V. Wrottesley, Lisa K. Micklesfield, Matthew M. Hamill, Gail R. Goldberg, Ann Prentice, John M. Pettifor, Shane A. Norris, Alison B. Feeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective The present paper examines dietary intake and body composition in antiretroviral (ARV)-naïve HIV-positive compared with HIV-negative South African women, as well as the impact of disease severity on these variables. Design Baseline data from a longitudinal study assessing bone health in HIV-negative and HIV-positive premenopausal South African women over 18 years of age were used. Anthropometry and body composition, measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, were analysed together with dietary intake data assessed using an interviewer-based quantitative FFQ. Setting Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Subjects Black, urban South African women were divided into three groups: (i) HIV-negative (HIV-; n 98); (ii) HIV-positive with preserved CD4 counts (HIV+ non-ARV; n 74); and (iii) HIV-positive with low CD4 counts and due to start ARV treatment (HIV+ pre-ARV; n 75). Results The prevalence of overweight and obesity was high in this population (59 %). The HIV+ pre-ARV group was lighter and had a lower BMI than the other two groups (all P < 0·001). HIV+ pre-ARV women also had lower fat and lean masses and percentage body fat than their HIV- and HIV+ non-ARV counterparts. After adjustment, there were no differences in macronutrient intakes across study groups; however, fat and sugar intakes were high and consumption of predominantly refined food items was common overall. Conclusion HIV-associated immunosuppression may be a key determinant of body composition in HIV-positive women. However, in populations with high obesity prevalence, these differences become evident only at advanced stages of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1613
Number of pages11
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Body composition
  • Diet
  • HIV
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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