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The very high incidence and serious consequences of childhood undernutrition in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of southern Asia necessitate emphasis on early prevention. One feasible low-priced option is fortified spreads. In this randomized trial in Malawai, 182 6-month-old infants received either supplements of maize–soy flour or 25 or 50 g daily of a ready-to-use fortified spread for 1 year. By the 12-month follow-up, 10 infants had died. There were similar gains in weight and length in all groups. However, there was a greater gain in length in the group given 50 g of fortified spread daily in infants who were below the median for length at baseline. Severe stunting did not develop in any of the infants receiving 50 g/d of the spread compared with stunting developing in 3.5% of infants receiving 25 g of the spread daily and 12.5% of those receiving the maize–soy flour. Fortified spread appeared to boost linear growth and thus decreased the incidence of severe stunting in these high-risk infants.
This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(7):601. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.7.601
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