Supplementary Feeding of Moderately Wasted Children in Sierra Leone Reduces Severe Acute Malnutrition and Death When Compared with Nutrition Counseling: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Tannaz Rajabi, Sam K. Schell, Sophia E. Agapova, Amir Hassan, Max Zalta, Donna R. Wegner, Meghan Callaghan-Gillespie, Aminata Koroma, Mohamed T. Kamara, Mark J. Manary, Kevin B. Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: There is uncertainty about whether children with moderate wasting should receive supplementary feeding. Objectives: We examined whether supplementary feeding compared with counseling alone in children with moderate wasting prevented progression to severe acute malnutrition (SAM) or death. Methods: This was a retrospective, dual-cohort study in which 1791 children with moderate wasting were drawn from 2 prior randomized controlled trials that took place in the same location in rural Sierra Leone. A total of 1077 children received supplementary feeding, whereas 714 children received counseling alone. Children in both cohorts were followed for ≥24 wk from enrollment. The primary outcome was time to SAM or death using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Secondary outcomes included time to death as well as proportions of children with healthy midupper arm circumference (MUAC), moderate wasting, SAM, or death at 6, 12, and 24 wk from enrollment. Results: Children who received supplementary feeding were less likely to develop SAM or die across the entire follow-up period (HR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.44, 0.65; P < 0.001). Time to event for death alone also revealed a lower risk for children who received supplementary feeding (HR: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.28, 0.94; P = 0.03). Children who received supplementary feeding were more likely to have a healthy MUAC at 6 wk (RR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.7, 2.2) and 12 wk (RR: 1.3; 95% CI: 1.2, 1.5), were less likely to develop SAM at 6 (RR: 0.7; 95% CI: 0.6, 0.9), 12 (RR: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3, 0.8), and 24 wk (RR: 0.2; 95% CI: 0.1, 0.5), and had higher rates of gain in weight and MUAC at 6 and 12 wk. Conclusions: Supplementary feeding of children with moderate wasting reduces risk of SAM and death across 24 wk of follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1158
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume152
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Keywords

  • child
  • community-based management of acute malnutrition
  • moderate wasting
  • severe acute malnutrition
  • supplementary feeding
  • wasting

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