Fortified Complementary Food Supplements: Effects on Child Growth
An unblinded, community-based, cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluating the effect of fortified complementary food supplementation on the growth outcomes of children was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The study compared the effects of chickpea and rice-lentil based foods, fortified blended food (WSB++), and Plumpy’doz along with nutrition counselling versus nutrition counselling alone (control).
Children aged 6–12 and 12–18 months were fed daily with one sachet (125 kcal) and two sachets (250 kcal) of the food supplement, respectively, and nutrition counselling was provided to their mothers. Weight, supine length, mid upper arm circumference, head and chest circumference of the children were recorded at 9, 12, 15, and 18 months of age. Outcomes such as length-for-age z-score (LAZ) change between 6 and 18 months; LAZ, length, and stunting (LAZ<–2) at 18 months; and weight-for-length z-score (WLZ) and wasting (WLZ<–2) at 18 months were measured.
Growth deceleration was observed in all groups from 6–18 months of age. In the Plumpy’doz, chickpea, and rice-lentil groups, the rate of LAZ decline was lower (0.02–0.04/month) compared to the control group. In these three groups, an increase in length of 0.06 cm/month and weight of 0.02 kg/month was observed. In the Plumpy’doz and chickpea groups, WLZ was higher (by 0.04/month) compared to the control group. Rice-lentil or WSB ++ groups had no impact on WLZ of the children. In the control group, the prevalence of stunting was 44% at 18 months. However, it was lower by 5%–6% in the Plumpy’doz and chickpea groups. By 18 months of age, an increase in length (0.27–0.30 cm) and LAZ (by 0.07–0.10) was observed in all the four groups.
The study demonstrated that along with nutrition counselling, daily consumption of small amounts of fortified complementary foods for a year moderately increased linear growth and reduced stunting in children at 18 months of age.
News source - Christian P, Shaikh S, Shamim AA, et al. Effect of fortified complementary food supplementation on child growth in rural Bangladesh: a cluster-randomized trial. Int J Epidemiol. 2015; 44(6):1862–76.