Background: Growth faltering in the first 2 years of life is high in South Asia where prevalence of stunting is estimated at 40-50%. Although nutrition counselling has shown modest benefits, few intervention trials of food supplementation exist showing improvements in growth and prevention of stunting. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in rural Bangladesh to test the effect of two local, ready-to-use foods (chickpea and rice-lentil based) and a fortified blended food (wheat-soy-blend++, WSB++) compared with Plumpy'doz, all with nutrition counselling vs nutrition counselling alone (control) on outcomes of linear growth (length and length-for-age z-score, LAZ), stunting (LAZ < -2), weight-for-length z-score (WLZ) and wasting (WLZ < -2) in children 6-18 months of age. Children (n=5536) were enrolled at 6 months of age and, in the food groups, provided with one of the allocated supplements daily for a year. Results: Growth deceleration occurred from 6 to 18 months of age but deceleration in LAZ was lower (by 0.02-0.04/month) in the Plumpy'doz (P=0.02), rice-lentil (< 0.01), and chickpea (< 0.01) groups relative to control, whereas WLZ decline was lower only in Plumpy'doz and chickpea groups. WSB++ did not impact on these outcomes. The prevalence of stunting was 44% at 18 months in the control group, but lower by 5-6% (P ≤ 0.01) in those receiving Plumpy'doz and chickpea. Mean length and LAZ at 18 months were higher by 0.27-0.30cm and 0.07-0.10 (all P < 0.05), respectively, in all four food groups relative to the control. Conclusions: In rural Bangladesh, small amounts of daily fortified complementary foods, provided for a year in addition to nutrition counselling, modestly increased linear growth and reduced stunting at 18 months of age.
- Complementary food
ASJC Scopus subject areas