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PLoS One. 2010 Jun 17;5(6):e11165. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011165.

Micronutrient fortification to improve growth and health of maternally HIV-unexposed and exposed Zambian infants: a randomised controlled trial.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The period of complementary feeding, starting around 6 months of age, is a time of high risk for growth faltering and morbidity. Low micronutrient density of locally available foods is a common problem in low income countries. Children of HIV-infected women are especially vulnerable. Although antiretroviral prophylaxis can reduce breast milk HIV transmission in early infancy, there are no clear feeding guidelines for after 6 months. There is a need for acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe (AFASS by WHO terminology) foods for both HIV-exposed and unexposed children after 6 months of age.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

We conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, a randomised double-blind trial of two locally made infant foods: porridges made of flour composed of maize, beans, bambaranuts and groundnuts. One flour contained a basal and the other a rich level of micronutrient fortification. Infants (n = 743) aged 6 months were randomised to receive either regime for 12 months. The primary outcome was stunting (length-for-age Z<-2) at age 18 months. No significant differences were seen between trial arms overall in proportion stunted at 18 months (adjusted odds ratio 0.87; 95% CI 0.50, 1.53; P = 0.63), mean length-for-age Z score, or rate of hospital referral or death. Among children of HIV-infected mothers who breastfed <6 months (53% of HIV-infected mothers), the richly-fortified porridge increased length-for-age and reduced stunting (adjusted odds ratio 0.17; 95% CI 0.04, 0.84; P = 0.03). Rich fortification improved iron status at 18 months as measured by hemoglobin, ferritin and serum transferrin receptors.

CONCLUSIONS:

In the whole study population, the rich micronutrient fortification did not reduce stunting or hospital referral but did improve iron status and reduce anemia. Importantly, in the infants of HIV-infected mothers who stopped breastfeeding before 6 months, the rich fortification improved linear growth. Provision of such fortified foods may benefit health of these high risk infants.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN37460449.

PMID:
20567511
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2887362
Free PMC Article
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