Supplementary Feeding of Underweight, Stunted Malawian Children With a Ready-To-Use Food

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.63). 03/2004; 38(2):152-8. DOI: 10.1097/00005176-200402000-00010
Source: PubMed


Maize and soy flour mixes are often used in the treatment of moderate malnutrition in Malawi. Their efficacy has not been formally evaluated. A recently developed ready-to-use food (RTUF) effectively promotes growth among severely malnourished children. The authors compared the effect of maize and soy flour with that of RTUF in the home treatment of moderately malnourished children.
Sixty-one underweight, stunted children 42 to 60 months of age were recruited in rural Malawi, in southeastern Africa. They received either RTUF or maize and soy flour for 12 weeks. Both supplements provided 2 MJ (500Kcal) of energy daily but had different energy and nutrient densities. Outcome variables were weight and height gain and dietary intake.
Before intervention, the mean dietary intake and weight and height gain were similar in the two groups. During the supplementation phase, the consumption of staple food fell among children receiving maize and soy flour but not among those receiving RTUF. There was thus higher intake of energy, fat, iron, and zinc in the RTUF group. Both supplements resulted in modest weight gain, but the effect lasted longer after RTUF supplementation. Height gain was not affected in either group. Periodic 24-hour dietary recalls suggested that the children received only 30% and 43%, respectively, of the supplementary RTUF and maize and soy flour provided.
RTUF is an acceptable alternative to maize and soy flour for dietary supplementation of moderately malnourished children. Approaches aimed at increasing the consumption of supplementary food by the selected recipients are needed.

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    • "However, these estimates contained considerable levels of heterogeneity, both in terms of study design and in terms of intervention quality, which is poorly captured by most studies. Furthermore, several individual studies that we were unable to pool in our meta-analysis report modest or no statistically significant difference in key nutritional outcomes when comparing products [60-62]. There are several dozen ongoing or planned studies focused on demonstrating efficacy or effectiveness between or among a range of possible food products and nutrient supplements in the context of the management of MAM, most of which will have reports in the upcoming few years (personal communication CMAM Forum, 2012). "
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