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Supplementary feeding with fortified spread among moderately underweight 6-18-month-old rural Malawian children

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  • Medicine


We aimed to analyse growth and recovery from undernutrition among moderately underweight ambulatory children receiving micronutrient-fortified maize-soy flour (Likuni Phala, LP) or ready-to-use fortified spread (FS) supplementary diet. One hundred and seventy-six 6-18-month-old individuals were randomized to receive 500 g LP or 350 g FS weekly for 12 weeks. Baseline and end of intervention measurements were used to calculate anthropometric gains and recovery from underweight, wasting and stunting. Mean weight-for-age increased by 0.22 (95% CI 0.07-0.37) and 0.28 (0.18-0.40) Z-score units in the LP and FS groups respectively. Comparable increase for mean weight-for-length was 0.39 (0.20-0.57) and 0.52 (0.38-0.65) Z-score units. Recovery from underweight and wasting was 20% and 93% in LP group and 16% and 75% in FS group. Few individuals recovered from stunting and mean length-for-age was not markedly changed. There were no statistically significant differences between the outcomes in the two intervention groups. In a poor food-security setting, underweight infants and children receiving supplementary feeding for 12 weeks with ready-to-use FS or maize-soy flour porridge show similar recovery from moderate wasting and underweight. Neither intervention, if limited to a 12-week duration, appears to have significant impact on the process of linear growth or stunting.

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