A nutritional intervention improves growth of Ugandan children with moderate acute malnutrition

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Effect of a novel supplementary porridge on the nutritional status of infants and young children diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition in Uganda: a cluster randomised control trial

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Background

Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and anaemia are prevalent among infants and young children (IYC) in Uganda. A lack of consensus regarding the most effective strategy for managing MAM among IYC resulted in the present study comparing the effect of malted sorghum‐based porridge (MSBP) (an active malt, extruded maize and soy sorghum supplementary porridge developed for the purpose of the present study) as an intervention versus an extruded maize and soy micronutrient fortified blend (CSB+) as a control and current standard care. Outcome measures were anthropometric status and haemoglobin levels.

Methods

The study comprised a double‐blind cluster randomised control trial with eight to 10 conveniently sampled consenting mother–IYC pairs per cluster who were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 110) or control (n = 110) for 3 months. Weekly anthropometric measurements were taken. Haemoglobin levels were measured at baseline and end line. Mean length‐for‐age, weight‐for‐age, length‐for‐weight and mean haemoglobin levels of the treatment and control groups were compared using an independent t‐test. The Z‐test was used to compare proportions of the outcome indicators between the treatment and control groups.

Results

Difference in mean weight‐for‐age Z‐scores in the treatment group improved compared to control (P = 0.010). The change in mean haemoglobin levels was lower in the treatment versus the control group (P = 0.010). The proportion of IYC recovering from MAM between treatment and control did not differ significantly (P = 0.055).

Conclusions

Recovery rates after supplementation with MSBP versus CSB+ resulted in similar weight‐for‐length and haemoglobin levels. Therefore, MSBP has the potential for being scaled up in the management of IYC with MAM in Uganda.

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