Weight Gain in Malnourished Children after 5 Months Food Supplementation in a Slum Setting in Bangladesh


We examined the rate of weight gain and absolute weight gain of underweight children (weight- for-age Z score < -2) aged between 6 - 24 months living in a slum of Dhaka city, in response to two different regimens of supplementary feeding. Comparison was also made with the weight gain of a healthy group of children from the same locality. In total 161 children, including 68 healthy children representing the control group, were enrolled for the 5 months supplementation. The two regimens of feeding were either ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF, Plumpy’Nut) or locally made cereal-based supplementary food Pushti packet which was recommended in the National Nutritional Program. No food supplementation was provided to control children. All children received vitamin A as part of the six-monthly national program, albendazole for deworming, immunization, and health and nutrition education. Multiple micronutrient powder (MNP) was provided only to Pushti packet and control children. The rate of weight gain on RUTF was 1.69 g/kg/day during the first month and gradually declined to 0.9 g/kg/day at the final month of the trial, whereas, the rate of weight gain on Pushti packet was 0.77 g/kg/day during the first month declining to 0.70 g/kg/day at the end of the trial. Rate of weight gain in the control group was steady between 0.47 - 0.50 g/kg/day. Absolute weight gains of 1085 g, 790 g and 730 g were observed in the RUTF, Pushti packet and the control groups, respectively which were significantly higher in the RUTF group. There was no statistically significant difference between the RUTF and Pushti packet groups in terms of rate of weight gain. Overall, weight gain was unsatisfactory for both supplementation groups. Better absolute weight gain was observed with RUTF supplementation compared to Pushti packet which prevented further deterioration in weight among the malnourished children.

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Mahfuz, M. , Ahmed, T. , Ahmed, A. , Islam, M. and Hossain, M. (2014) Weight Gain in Malnourished Children after 5 Months Food Supplementation in a Slum Setting in Bangladesh. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 1370-1378. doi: 10.4236/fns.2014.514149.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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