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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Apr;81(4):864-70.

Comparison of home-based therapy with ready-to-use therapeutic food with standard therapy in the treatment of malnourished Malawian children: a controlled, clinical effectiveness trial.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Childhood malnutrition is common in Malawi, and the standard treatment, which follows international guidelines, results in poor recovery rates. Higher recovery rates have been seen in pilot studies of home-based therapy with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

OBJECTIVE:

The objective was to compare the recovery rates among children with moderate and severe wasting, kwashiorkor, or both receiving either home-based therapy with RUTF or standard inpatient therapy.

DESIGN:

A controlled, comparative, clinical effectiveness trial was conducted in southern Malawi with 1178 malnourished children. Children were systematically allocated to either standard therapy (186 children) or home-based therapy with RUTF (992 children) according to a stepped wedge design to control for bias introduced by the season of the year. Recovery, defined as reaching a weight-for-height z score > -2, and relapse or death were the primary outcomes. The rate of weight gain and the prevalence of fever, cough, and diarrhea were the secondary outcomes.

RESULTS:

Children who received home-based therapy with RUTF were more likely to achieve a weight-for-height z score > -2 than were those who received standard therapy (79% compared with 46%; P < 0.001) and were less likely to relapse or die (8.7% compared with 16.7%; P < 0.001). Children who received home-based therapy with RUTF had greater rates of weight gain (3.5 compared with 2.0 g . kg(-1) . d(-1); difference: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.0, 2.0 g . kg(-1) . d(-1)) and a lower prevalence of fever, cough, and diarrhea than did children who received standard therapy.

CONCLUSION:

Home-based therapy with RUTF is associated with better outcomes for childhood malnutrition than is standard therapy.

PMID:
15817865
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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