Energy-dense food supplements provided to children at risk of malnutrition has little effect on weight gain but can improve linear growth and hemoglobin status as well as reduce the incidence of illness, according to a study from Belgian researchers (Huybregts L et al. PLoS Med. 2012;9:e1001313).
In a 4-month cluster-randomized trial in Chad, the researchers evaluated whether adding a nutritional supplement—in this case, a lipid-based spread—to a package of monthly household food rations would prevent wasting in 1038 children aged 6 to 36 months. Both the control and intervention groups received the household rations, which included staples such as sorghum and legumes. But children in the intervention group received an additional daily ration of ready-to-use supplementary food.
Friedrich MJ. Combating Child Malnutrition. JAMA. 2012;308(19):1963. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.73685