Feeding experiences and growth status in a Rett syndrome population

Wendy H. Oddy, Kathryn G. Webb, Gordon Baikie, Susan M. Thompson, Sheena Reilly, Susan D. Fyfe, Deidra Young, Alison M. Anderson, Helen Leonard

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OBJECTIVES: Feeding difficulties in Rett syndrome are complex and multifactorial. In this study, we describe the feeding experiences in Rett syndrome and examine the factors affecting growth. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using questionnaire data related to a population-based cohort, ages 2 to 29 years (n = 201), we measured the feeding experiences, growth, and factors affecting growth (enteral nutritional support, mutations, mobility, breath-holding, hyperventiliation) in subjects with Rett syndrome. RESULTS: The mean weight, height, and body mass index z scores in subjects with Rett syndrome were below that of their age group and decreased steadily with age. Twenty percent of subjects had enteral nutrition support, and it was more common in the older age group. Those with truncating mutations had significantly less enteral nutrition support than the other mutation groups. Furthermore, those with low mobility had lower mean body mass index z scores than those with higher mobility, and increased frequency of breath-holding and hyperventilation also was associated with lower body mass index z scores. CONCLUSIONS: Routine monitoring of growth should continue to determine the severity of nutritional problems in Rett syndrome. Active nutritional management is recommended to ensure females affected with Rett syndrome have the best opportunity to reach their growth potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-590
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Enteral nutrition support
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Growth
  • Nutritional status
  • Rett syndrome

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