Background: The utility of dairy ingredients in the supplementary foods used in the treatment of childhood moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) remains unsettled. Objective: We evaluated the effectiveness of a peanut-based readyto- use supplementary food (RUSF) with soy protein compared with a novel RUSF containing dairy ingredients in the form of whey permeate and whey protein concentrate in the treatment of children with MAM. Design: We conducted a randomized, double-blind clinical effectiveness trial involving rural Malawian and Mozambican children 6-59 mo of age with MAM treated with either soy RUSF or a novel whey RUSF treatment of ∼75 kcal kg-1 d-1 for up to 12 wk. Results: The proportion of children that recovered from MAM was significantly higher in the group that received whey RUSF (960 of 1144; 83.9%) than in the group that received soy RUSF (874 of 1086; 80.5%; P < 0.04; risk difference 3.4%, 95% CI: 0.3%, 6.6%). Children who consumed whey RUSF also demonstrated better growth markers, with a higher mean midupper arm circumference (MUAC) at the time of discharge (P < 0.009), greater MUAC gain during the course of treatment (P < 0.003), higher mean weight-forheight z score at discharge (P < 0.008), and greater weight gain (P < 0.05). No significant differences were identified in length gain or time to recovery between the 2 groups. Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of milk protein in the treatment of MAM, because the use of a novel whey RUSF resulted in higher recovery rates and improved growth than did soy RUSF, although the whey RUSF supplement provided less total protein and energy than the soy RUSF.
- Moderate acute malnutrition
- Ready-to-use supplementary food
- Whey permeate
- Whey protein