Navigation Links
Thousands of starving children could be restored to health with peanut butter program
Date:9/12/2007

Sept. 12, 2007 -- An enriched peanut-butter mixture given at home is successfully promoting recovery in large numbers of starving children in Malawi, according to a group of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Malnutrition affects 70 percent of all Malawian children with an estimated 13 percent of children dying from it before the age of five.

Mark J. Manary, M.D., professor of pediatrics and an emergency pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital, has spent several years researching the use of the enriched peanut-butter mixture, called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) with small groups of severely and moderately malnourished young children in the sub-Saharan African country. The nutrient-rich mixture contains peanuts, powdered milk, oil, sugar, and added vitamins and minerals. Produced in a Malawian factory, the mixture is given to the mothers of the children to feed at home.

While Manary's team had promising results in using the RUTF in a small setting, it hadn't used the treatment in large-scale operations because of limited human and material resources. The team embarked on a three-year study to implement the peanut-butter feeding program using the existing health-care system in Malawi. Results of the study appeared in the July issue of Maternal and Child Nutrition.

The research team, including Manary, students from Washington University in St. Louis and Baylor College of Medicine and researchers from Malawi, rolled out the treatment at 12 rural health centers in southern Malawi. There, non-medically trained village health aides, who are often the only medical presence in the communities, identified severely or moderately malnourished children based on World Health Organization guidelines and determined which children would receive the treatment. The aides then followed up with the children every other week for up to eight weeks. Of the 2,131 severely malnourished children treated with the RUTF at home, 89 percent recovered. Of the 806 moderately malnourished children treated with the RUTF, 85 percent recovered.

"The peanut-butter feeding has been a quantum leap in feeding malnourished children in Africa," Manary said. "The recovery rates are a remarkable improvement from standard therapy."

Traditional treatment of moderate malnutrition in Malawi involves feeding children a corn-based porridge at home, or for severe malnutrition, children are fed a milk-based porridge in hospitals. However, a severely malnourished child would have to eat about 25 spoonfuls of porridge to equal the calorie density in one spoonful of the concentrated RUTF, Manary said. The recovery rate for children given the standard therapy is less than 50 percent.

As a result of the study, Manary and the researchers found that village health aides can reliably identify which children need treatment, manage the program and follow up with children after the program, which eliminates the need for onsite medically trained professionals to supervise it.

"What's really exciting to me is that we've demonstrated that we can put this research into practice on a large scale, it can benefit tens of thousands of kids, and there are not going to be operational barriers in some very remote settings like sub-Saharan Africa," Manary said.

First author Zachary Linneman is a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis who has traveled to Malawi twice to work with Manary.

"In addition to the success the project brings to each malnourished child in terms of nutritional rehabilitation, I think it demonstrates to the larger community the ability to effectively address major health issues with straightforward solutions and hard work," Linneman said.

Once the children are renourished, they usually stay healthy, Manary said.

"Mothers in Malawi know that malnutrition is the single biggest threat to their children's existence," Manary said.

"They want nothing more in this life to have their children survive and grow up. When their child comes through treatment successfully, they will pay extra attention to make sure it doesn't happen again."


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. One signal elicits thousands of answers
2. Hundreds of thousands of viral species present in the worlds oceans
3. Ebola outbreaks killing thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees
4. Technique monitors thousands of molecules simultaneously
5. Childrens taste sensitivity and food choices influenced by taste gene
6. $5.1 billion would save 6 million children
7. Transgenic goats milk offers hope for tackling childrens intestinal disease
8. Genetically engineered animals help in scientific research that may benefit children
9. Genes linked to treatment resistance in children with leukemia
10. Customized gene chip provides rapid detection of genetic changes in childrens cancer
11. Zinc supplements safe for HIV-infected children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mar. 23, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to ... ... a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster ... country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could ... recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , March 9, 2017 4Dx has ... World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. ... invited to deliver the latest data to world leaders ... event brings together leaders at the forefront of the ... lung imaging. "The quality of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Premier executive recruitment firm, ... Science Search Firm by Hunt Scanlon Media. , Hunt Scanlon Media is ... most widely referenced global news source in the human capital sector. , “It is ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Chestertown, Maryland (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... Annual Life Science Chief Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. ... and medical device and diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... ) has unveiled its innovative Quantum peristaltic pump with patented ReNu single-use ... sets the new standard for high-pressure feed pumps in SU tangential flow ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... March 22, 2017...Council for ... another green revolution, one that utilizes technological innovation in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend ... life such as aesthetics and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: