Food supplements have little effect on the weight of malnourished children

September 18, 2012

Providing energy dense food supplements within a general household food distribution has little effect on the weight of children at risk of malnutrition

Giving energy dense — Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF), a lipid-based nutrient supplement—to young children in addition to a general food distribution in a country with food shortages (Chad) did not reduce levels of wasting (low weight for height, a sign of acute undernutrition) but slightly increased their height and haemoglobin levels according to a study conducted by the international non-governmental organization Action Against Hunger-France (ACF-France) in collaboration with published in this week's .

In emergency situations, international aid organizations support affected populations by distributing food and sometimes by also providing nutritional supplements such as RUSF, to children at risk of malnutrition. In a cluster randomized controlled trial, researchers from Belgium and France, led by Lieven Huybregts from Ghent University in Belgium, investigated the effect of a targeted daily dose of RUSF in 6

Explore further: Low-income mothers risk obesity to feed children

More information: Huybregts L, Houngbe´ F, Salpe´teur C, Brown R, Roberfroid D, et al. (2012) The Effect of Adding Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food to a General Food Distribution on Child Nutritional Status and Morbidity: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 9(9): e1001313. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001313

Perspective article: Dewey KG, Arimond M (2012) Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements: How Can They Combat Child Malnutrition? PLoS Med 9(9): e1001314. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001314

Related Stories

Low-income mothers risk obesity to feed children

March 15, 2012

Mothers who financially struggle to provide food for their families tend to put themselves at risk for obesity while trying to feed their children, according to Penn State sociologists.

Dietary supplements increase cancer risk

May 15, 2012

Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid – taken up to three times their recommended daily allowance, these supplements are probably harmless. But taken at much higher levels as some supplement manufacturers suggest, these ...

Who has power over food?

June 26, 2012

Addressing the twin crises of malnutrition around the world—hunger and obesity— demands that we ask who has power over food, rather than question just the mere presence or absence of food. This is the argument of ...

Recommended for you

A metabolic master switch underlying human obesity

August 19, 2015

Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially ...

Scientists probe obesity's ties to breast cancer risk

August 20, 2015

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, but researchers haven't figured out what connects the two. A new study suggests the link may be due to a change in breast tissue structure, which might promote breast ...

Can a new drug brown the fat and trim the obese person?

May 28, 2015

New research has found that a variant of a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension prompts weight loss in obese mice. Among mice fed a high-fat diet, those who did not get the medication became obese while medicated ...

Changing stem cell structure may help fight obesity

February 17, 2015

The research, conducted at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), found that a slight regulation in the length of primary cilia, small hair-like projections found on most cells, prevented the production of fat cells from ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

murigi
not rated yet Oct 08, 2012
The way whole foods work in the body might never be understood fully. This is why nutritional supplements will always play a secondary role when compared to food. Despite this, they have a role to play in times of crisis and in our lives (www.integratednutritionalsupplementsguide.com)

It may not be clear why children in the group on RUSF supplements did not gain weight as probably expected. But it points to the fact that more is needed under such humanitarian catastrophes if total health is to be realized. Probably the most effective way would be to correct the primary cause of the problem. Since that may be beyond the role of the relief organizations, RUSF has a role in at least reducing child mortality in disaster areas. It would also be good to know about other aspects that contribute to overall good health. For example how was the general hygiene including sanitation and water source? It is common to find parasitic infestation in children in such situations which affects results.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.