Nearly two-thirds of HIV-infected Americans may be overweight or obese, suggests a study of 663 HIV patients at Navy hospitals in San Diego and Bethesda, Md.
"We used to worry that they would lose weight and become wasted. Maybe we should redirect our concerns to making sure they are maintaining a healthy, normal weight," said study author Dr Nancy Crum-Cianflone of TriService AIDS Clinical Consortium in San Diego, the Associated Press reported.
Of all the patients in the study, 63 percent were overweight or obese and only three percent were underweight. None of the patients was considered to be "wasted." Among patients with full-blown Aids, about 30 percent were overweight or obese.
Patients who were infected at a younger age, those who had the virus for a longer time, and those who had high blood pressure were more likely to be overweight or obese, the AP reported.
Same to happen in SA?
Dr Linda-Gail Bekker, Principal Investigator at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town, says that there are no equivalent data for the comparable socio-economic class in South Africa.
“However, I think it is very safe to say that we are very likely to follow this pattern going forward. It is likely that secondary illnesses such as diabetes and CV diseases are going to play an increasing role as patients stay alive longer and can accumulate weight,” says Dr Bekker.
“I agree with the statement that we should be more actively managing weight as part of a healthy lifestyle package in HIV infection.”
The findings were to be presented last week at an infectious disease meeting in San Diego. – (HealthDayNews/Health24)