Association between intestinal parasite infections and proxies for body composition: a scoping review

Idalécia Cossa-Moiane, Clémentine Roucher, Tamlyn Mac Quene, Maiza Campos-Ponce, Nilsa de Deus, Katja Polman, Colleen Doak

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    It has long been recognized that intestinal parasite infections and undernutrition are closely linked. However, little is known about the role of intestinal parasite infections (IPIs), or parasite clearance, in these processes. The aim of this scoping review was to summarize published evidence on the association between IPIs and body composition. PRISMA guidelines, PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases were searched up until June 2021. Studies reporting on IPIs in relation to (proxies for) body composition were eligible. Study quality and risk of bias were assessed using Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal tools. Twenty-four studies were included, two Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and 22 observational. Most observational studies showed IPIs to be associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI) or being underweight as proxies for body composition. One RCT showed no effect of antiparasitic treatment on body composition, while the other one showed a significant post-treatment increase in body fat, as measured by BMI z-scores and skinfolds. This review lends support to distinct associations between IPIs and body composition. More longitudinal studies are needed using direct measures of body composition to investigate whether weight gained after antiparasitic treatment concerns an increase in body fat or healthy weight gain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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