Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 300
Objective: Formulations for supplementary foods to prevent stunting or to promote catch-up growth vary by their ingredients and therefore their cost and shelf life. The inclusion of milk solids has been at the center of this debate. This analysis investigates the relative association of different nutrient dense foods and linear growth in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a population of children with high rates of kwashiorkor and stunting.
Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional observational survey of young children aged 36-48 months (n=333) in eastern DRC. In addition to anthropometric measures (age, height, weight, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and edema), caregivers responded to a 7-day household food frequency, a 24-hour diet recall for the child, and provided other related information on the household and the child. The relative association of amounts of individual foods, frequency of consuming those foods, MUAC, weight for height, recent illness, childcare habits, sanitation and wealth with height for age Z scores (HAZ) was assessed using multi-variate linear regressions with standardized coefficients.
Results: The mean HAZ was -2.43 (SD 1.38) and 61.26% (SD 0.49) of children had a HAZ-score below -2. Prevalence of kwashiorkor was 3.0%. While controlling for age and sex, MUAC and frequency of cow's milk consumption had the strongest positive associations with linear growth (HAZ) while frequency of onion consumption had the strongest negative association. Presence of malaria was also significantly and positively associated with HAZ.
Conclusions: This secondary analysis adds to a growing body of evidence associating linear growth and milk consumption in a population of children that have high rates of stunting and kwashiorkor. While the frequency of consumption of milk was associated with linear growth, we also find a positive association of HAZ and malaria, possibly because parasites like malaria are likely to thrive in better nourished children.
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University