ISSN - 0973-0958

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A Randomized Controlled Facility Based Trial to Assess the Impact of Indigenously Prepared Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition in India
Alka Jadhav1, Bina Dias1, Narendra Shah2, Lavina Fernandes1, Sneha Fernandes1, Aparna Surve2, Hiteshi Dhami-Shah1, Shivram Murty3, Nandan Joshi4, Mamta Manglani1.
1Department of Pediatrics, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India,
2Centre for technological alternatives in Rural areas CTARA, IIT Bombay, India,
3Toddler Food Partners, Minneapolis, USA,
4General Mills, Mumbai, India.
Aim: Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is a standard of care for children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) worldwide. There is limited data on its use in India, therefore we conducted this study to determine the efficacy of indigenously prepared RUTF also termed as Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).

Methods and Materials: Three hundred and twenty one children between 6 months – 5 years of age suffering from SAM were enrolled in the study of which 242 children who completed two weeks of intervention were analyzed. The study was a facility based open randomized controlled trial. Subjects were divided into two groups: study group (received MNT) and control group [received Standard Nutrition Therapy (SNT)] for eight weeks. Thereafter each patient was followed up for four months. Primary outcome variables were rate of weight gain in gm/kg/day, proportion of children achieving target weight and change in nutritional status.

Results: Of 242 patients, 138 completed eight weeks of intervention. At the end of two and four weeks, the rate of weight gain was significantly greater in MNT group i.e. 5.63 g/kg/day at 2 weeks (n=129) and 4.72 g/kg/day at 4 weeks (n=44) than in the SNT group i.e. 3.43 g/kg/day at 2 weeks (n=113) and 2.82 g/kg/day at 4 weeks (n=46) (p<0.05). Target weight was achieved in 61.2 % of children on MNT group as compared to 47.7% in SNT group. At 8 weeks, 82.8% of children on MNT moved out of SAM status compared to 64.4% of children on SNT (p<0.005).

Conclusion: MNT is significantly superior to SNT in promoting weight gain in SAM children. Indigenously prepared MNT is useful to treat SAM in children.

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