Objective: to identify the dietary pattern of HIV-infected children and to test the association between these patterns and socio-economic status. Material and methods: In September and November 2010, a cross-sectional survey including a food frequency questionnaire was conducted to all HIV-infected children attended at Centro de Excelencia para Niños con Inmunodeficiencias (CENID), Hospital de Niños Benjamin Bloom in San Salvador. Food items were classified in 9 food groups and dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis (PCA). Results: 312 children were surveyed. The three dietary patterns identified by PCA were "healthy diet", "unhealthy diet", and "low variety diet" and together accounted for 49.38% of explained variance. The "healthy diet" pattern included vegetables, dairy products, fruits, and meat and fish. THe "unhealthy diet" pattern consisted of fast food, fats and oils, eggs, and meat and fish; and the "low variety pattern" consisted mainly in cereals, tubers, and beans. Younger children and children living in shelter houses were significantly more likely to show a high adherence to the "healthy diet" pattern (p=0.004 and p<0.0001 respectively), whereas older children and children living in poverty showed a significant higher adherence to the "low variety diet" pattern (p=0.018) but no significant association with age was found. There were no significant differences between boys and girls in the adherence to any of the three patterns. Key finding: Salvadorian HIV-infected children living in shelter houses were more likely to adhere to the "healthy diet" pattern. THe "unhealthy diet" pattern was mainly followed by children living in poverty and the "low variety diet" pattern by children living in extreme poverty
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