Impact of therapeutic food compared to oral nutritional supplements on nutritional outcomes in mildly underweight healthy children in a low-medium income society

Fatima, S., Malkova, D. , Wright, C. and Gerasimidis, K. (2018) Impact of therapeutic food compared to oral nutritional supplements on nutritional outcomes in mildly underweight healthy children in a low-medium income society. Clinical Nutrition, 37(3), pp. 858-863. (doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2017.03.006) (PMID:28343801)

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Abstract

Background & Aims: Therapeutic foods (RUTF) are used to treat severe acute malnutrition in children 5 years and under in low and middle income countries (LMI), while liquid nutritional supplements (ONS) are used in affluent societies. With globalisation and economic growth in LMI, there will be an inclination to move towards practices applied in affluent countries. This study compared the effect of supplementation with a RUTF and an ONS, on nutritional outcomes in mildly underweight children. Methods: 68 Pakistani (5 to 10 y), mildly underweight (weight Z-score: -2 to -1) children randomly received either RUTF or ONS (500 kcal/day), in addition to their habitual diet for four weeks. Weight, height, skinfolds and their changes during intervention, were compared between the two groups and at follow up, post-supplementation. Results: All nutritional outcomes and height improved with both supplements, but net weight gain (kg) and changes from baseline for weight, height, triceps and sub-scapular thickness Z-scores did not differ between the two supplements [mean (SD), RUTF vs ONS; weight gain (kg), 0.59 (0.30) vs 0.65 (0.42), p=0.483; weight Z-score, 0.12 (0.09) vs 0.15 (0.13), p=0.347; height Z-score, 0.04 (0.08) vs 0.04 (0.08), p=0.908; triceps Z-score, 0.29 (0.24) vs 0.31 (0.23), p=0.796; subscapular Z-score, 0.37 (0.29) vs 0.31 (0.25), p=0.385]. Weight gain (0.6 kg) for both groups was lower than anticipated (2 kg). Post-supplementation, there was a tendency for weight and height Z-score to return to baseline. Conclusions: RUTF and ONS are equivalently effective in improving nutritional outcomes in children 5 to 10 y at risk of malnutrition but the observed benefit is less than expected and not sustainable. Trial registration: This trial was registered at www.controlled-trials.com reference: ISRCTN51555749.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Dr Fatima received a PhD studentship from Khyber Medical University Peshawar, Pakistan.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Malkova, Dr Dale and Wright, Professor Charlotte and Gerasimidis, Dr Konstantinos
Authors: Fatima, S., Malkova, D., Wright, C., and Gerasimidis, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Clinical Nutrition
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0261-5614
ISSN (Online):1532-1983
Published Online:16 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism
First Published:First published in Clinical Nutrition 37(3): 858-863
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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