evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

WFP: foods and food supplements for preventing and treating malnutrition in children

In Under-nutrition on June 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Original title: “Current and potential role of   specially formulated foods and food supplements for   preventing malnutrition among 6-23 months old and   treating moderate malnutrition among 6-59 months old children”

by Saskia de Pee and Martin W Bloem (2008) – WFP



Reducing child malnutrition requires nutritious food, breastfeeding, improved hygiene, health services, and (prenatal) care. Poverty and food insecurity seriously constrain accessibility of nutritious diets, including high protein quality, adequate micronutrient content and bioavailability, macro-minerals and essential fatty acids, low anti-nutrient content, and high nutrient density. Largely plant-source-based diets with few animal source and fortified foods do not meet these requirements and need to be improved by processing (dehulling, germinating, fermenting), fortification, and adding animal source foods, e.g. milk, or other specific nutrients. Options include using specially formulated foods: fortified blended foods (FBFs), commercial infant cereals, ready-to-use foods i.e. pastes/compressed bars/biscuits, or complementary food supplements (CFS): micronutrient powders (MNP); powdered CFS containing (micro)nutrients, protein, amino acids and/or enzymes; or lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS), 120-500 kcal/d, typically containing milk powder, high-quality vegetable oil, peanut-paste, sugar, (micro)nutrients. Most supplementary feeding programs for moderately malnourished children supply FBFs, such as corn soy blend, with oil and sugar, which has shortcomings: too many anti-nutrients, no milk (important for growth), suboptimal micronutrient content, high bulk and viscosity. Thus, for feeding young or malnourished children, FBFs need to be improved or replaced. Based on success with ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) for treating severe acute malnutrition, modifying that recipe is also considered. Commodities for reducing child malnutrition should be chosen based on nutritional needs, program circumstances, availability of commodities, and likelihood of impact. Data are urgently required to compare impact of new or modified commodities to current (FBFs) and to RUTF developed for treating severe acute malnutrition.

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