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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING WITH READY-TO-USE THERAPEUTIC FOOD IN MALAWIAN CHILDREN AT RISK OF MALNUTIRITON)

Author
item Patel, Monica
item Sandige, Heidi
item Ndekha, Macdonald
item Briend, Andre
item Ashorn, Per
item Manary, Mark

Submitted to: Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2005
Publication Date: 12/1/2005
Citation: Patel, M.P., Sandige, H.L., Ndekha, M.J., Briend, A., Ashorn, P., Manary, M.J. 2005. Supplemental feeding with ready-to-use therapeutic food in Malawian children at risk of malnutrition. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition. 23(4):351-357.

Interpretive Summary: Children in the developing world who are underweight and at risk for becoming severely malnourished often receive supplementary food. The most common food given is corn/soy blend, but unfortunately this is not very effective in helping these children to gain weight. New approaches to helping these children are needed. A ready-to-use, peanut butter-based food was developed to supplement the diet of Malawian children at risk for severe malnutrition. Three hundred thirty-one children at risk for malnutrition were given this ready-to-use therapeutic food, and 41 children were given the standard corn/soy blend for up to 8 weeks. Fifty-eight percent of the children given the ready-to-use food gained substantial weight, compared to only 22% receiving corn/soy blend. Ready-to-use therapeutic food promotes better growth in underweight children when compared to corn/soy blend.

Technical Abstract: The study was a controlled, comparative clinical effectiveness trial of two supplementary feeding regimens in children at risk of malnutrition from seven centres in rural Malawi. Being at risk of malnutrition was defined as weight-for-height <85%, but >80% of the international standard. A stepped-wedge design with systematic allocation was used for assigning children to receive either ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) (n=331) or micronutrient-fortified corn/soy-blend (n=41) for up to 8 weeks. The primary outcomes were recovery, defined as weight-for-height >90%, and the rate of weight gain. Children receiving RUTF were more likely to recover (58% vs 22%; difference 36%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 20-52) and had greater rates of weight gain (3.1 g/kg.d vs 1.4 g/kg x d; difference 1.7; 95% CI 0.8-2.6) than children receiving corn/soy-blend. The results of this preliminary work suggest that supplementary feeding with RUTF promotes better growth in children at risk of malnutrition than the standard fortified cereal/legume-blended food.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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