Benefits of daily nutritional supplements for children in Malawi

January 2009

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, three groups of Malawian children received daily supplementation of either 71 grams of corn-soy flour that required cooking, and either 50 grams or 25 grams of a ready-to-eat fortified spread (FS) made of peanut paste, milk powder, vegetable oil, sugar, and a micronutrient mixture. Rations were provided from the ages of 6 to 18 months, and growth outcomes were tracked for 36 months. Two years after the intervention, severe stunting rates were 19.6 percent in the corn-soy flour group, 3.6 percent in the FS50 group, and 10.3 percent in the FS25 group. The FS50 group experienced the greatest improvements, and the FS25 group the least, in weight, height, mid-upper-arm circumference, and head circumference. The authors hypothesize that the larger portion of milk powder in the FS50 may have contributed to the timing of growth acceleration and subsequent growth outcomes. The cost of FS50 was approximately 20 cents per day, or $72 per child for 12 months.

Postintervention growth of Malawian children who received 12-mo dietary complementation with a lipid-based nutrient supplement or maize-soy flour