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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2004 Mar;54(1):66-71.

[Assessment of the nutritional impact of the complementary feeding program of Panama in children under five years old].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Ministerio de Salud, Panamá--Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile.


To evaluate the nutritional impact of the Complementary Feeding Program of Panama in children under 5 years old. A retrospective cohort of children beneficiaries of the program was studied and compared with others of the same age and districts not involved in this intervention. Weight for age (W-A), height for age (H-A), and weight for height (W-H) was calculated in each control and the nutritional status determined according to Ministry of Health norms. Every beneficiary received six pounds/month of a food supplement containing cereals, legumes, calcium, iron and vitamin A (350 Kcal and 12 g of protein by 100 grams). Most of the children enter into the program in their second year of life with an average W-A and W-H of -1.5 +/- 1.2 and -0.6 +/- 0.9 respectively; both indicators were declining before the intervention (-0.6 +/- 1.2 y -0.3 +/- 1.3 respectively, p < 0.01). In 9 months of intervention an average change in W-A of 0.0 +/- 1.1 and H-A of - 0.1 +/- 1.1 was observed (NS). Weight gain was higher in children with lower W-A, in families with less children or mother with better education level (p < 0.05). In 35% of malnourished children and 24% of children at risk nutritional status improved during the intervention. Children with higher nutritional deficit at the beginning of the program have significantly better nutritional improvement (p < 0.001), encouraging the importance on focusing this program in malnourished children.

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