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Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1986 Jul;40(4):271-85.

Protein-energy malnutrition: the role of nutrition education in rehabilitation.


A randomized trial was carried out to test the effectiveness of nutrition education as a rehabilitation measure for childhood protein-energy malnutrition. The intervention comprised a series of home-based nutrition counselling sessions for the mothers/caretakers of 65 children (hospital outpatients) aged 7-36 months, who were suffering from mild to moderate protein-energy malnutrition. Both the intervention and control groups of children and their caretakers were assessed over a 12-month period: the children on admission and at 3-monthly intervals for weight-for-age, weight-for-height, height-for-age, triceps skinfold-for-age and clinical features; the caretakers on admission and at the final follow-up for nutrition knowledge. Although the nutrition knowledge score of the caretakers in the intervention group improved significantly, no significant differences developed between the two groups of children regarding any of the nutritional status measures assessed. Thus, nutrition education per se was not found to be a major factor in promoting recovery from malnutrition. Nevertheless, both groups of children showed highly significant improvements in all age-adjusted anthropometric assessments except height-for-age.

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