Lipid-Based Supplement for Underweight Treatment

November 24/Tampere, Finland/Pediatrics Week -- According to recent research from Tampere, Finland, "Although widely used, there is little information concerning the efficacy of corn-soy blend (CSB) supplementation in the treatment of moderate underweight in African children. Lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS), which have proven to be beneficial treatment for severely wasted children, could offer benefits to less severely affected individuals."

"We conducted a clinical randomized trial to determine whether LNS or CSB supplementation improves weight gain of moderately underweight children. A total of 182 underweight [weight-for-age Z-score (WAZ) < 2] six- to 15-month-old children were randomized to receive for 12 weeks a ration of 43g/d LNS or 71g/d CSB, providing 1189 and 921 kJ, respectively, or no supplementation (control). The primary outcome was weight change; secondary outcomes included changes in anthropometric indices, hemoglobin levels, and morbidity. The body weight increases (mean +/- SD) did not differ and were 620 +/- 470, 510 +/- 350, and 470 +/- 350 g in the LNS, CSB, and control groups, respectively (P = 0.11). Compared with controls, infants and children in the LNS group gained more weight [mean (95% Cl) = 150 g (0-300 g); P = 0.05] and had a greater increase in WAZ [0.33 (-0.02-0.65); P = 0.04]. Weight and WAZ changes did not differ between the control and CSB groups. In exploratory stratified analysis, the weight increase was higher in the LNS group compared with the control group among those with lower initial WAZ [250 g (60-430 g; P= 0.01]," wrote C. Thakwalakwa and colleagues, University of Tampere.

The researchers concluded, "Supplementation with LNS but not CSB modestly increases weight gain among moderately underweight children, and the effect appears most pronounced among those with a lower initial WAZ. J. Nutr. 140: 2008-2013, 2010."

Thakwalakwa and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Nutrition ("A Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplement but Not Corn-Soy Blend Modestly Increases Weight Gain among Six- to 18-Month-Old Moderately Underweight Children in Rural Malawi." Journal of Nutrition, 2010;140(11):2008-2013).

For additional information, contact C. Thakwalakwa, University of Tampere, Dept. of International Health, School Medical, Tampere 33014, Finland.

From the December 6, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition