Nutrient supplements

Nutrient supplements significantly reduce child deaths

Approximately most of the child deaths worldwide occur from preventable causes, for example malnutrition. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that child deaths can be minimized by providing nutritional supplements rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. In low- and middle-income countries mortality among children 6-24 months old could be slashed up to 27 percent by giving supplements. Findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Nutrient supplements normally made of a mixture of a legume—peanut, lentil or chickpea paste, milk powder, oil and a full complement of the vitamins and minerals required by children.

Earlier studies have evaluated how supplements can improve growth in children, but this is considered to be the first attempt to measure the effect of the supplements on childhood deaths. The results signifies supplements could have effects beyond just immunizing retarding, withering and malnutrition.

To evaluate mortality risk among children who took the supplements compared to those who did not, 18 trials conducted in 11 countries were identified. Data from 13 trials with 34,051 children were used for primary analysis. The trials are generalizable to other low- and middle-income countries.

Data showed that for every 227 children who receive the supplements for at least six months, one child death can be avoided. The prime cause of child mortality is Malnutrition. The common causes of mortality are illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infection study emphasizes. In United States these diseases are not fatal as children are well nourished.

Kathryn Dewey, a distinguished professor and one of the co-authors of the study, developed the use of small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements along with other colleagues. And this can cut deaths after the age of 6 months, as there are some effective methods after that age,” she said.

Richard Bell
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