News article

Fortifying home-made foods with multiple micronutrients in powder has good adherence and acceptability

Posted:  Monday, July 04, 2016

Good adherence and acceptability of multiple micronutrients in powder for home-made food fortification

Home fortification of foods with multiple micronutrients in powder (MNP) constitutes a new strategy for checking childhood malnutrition. Childhood is a stage of rapid growth and development, with high nutrient requirement. An adequate diet should be provided to fill nutrient gaps, through complementary feeding and nutrient supplementation.

In a systematic review of scientific literature published from 2003 to 2014 and focusing on children aged 6 months to 2 years; studies that looked at the adherence and/or acceptability of MNP-fortified complementary feeds were included. Acceptability was assessed on the basis of perceptions of children or caregivers about MNP, while adherence was assessed based on the number of MNP sachets consumed.

Among the 17 studies that were selected, 14 were clinical trials, and 3 were observational studies. Most of the studies were conducted in developing countries across the world, and they indicated a high prevalence of anaemia and stunting in children below 2 years of age. All the caregivers received instructions for using MNP sachets; and accordingly, one packet of MNP was added to a small portion of a semi-solid food to be wholly consumed by the child.

The acceptability of MNP was high for both caregivers and children. The reasons for high acceptability include health benefits, ease of transportation, easy preparation, without changing the organoleptic characteristics of food. Adherence to home fortification with MNP ranged from 50% to 96 % for the prescribed sachets. Among the side effects reported in 3% to 32% of children taking MNP, the most common were diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation.

The home fortification of food with MNP is an effective strategy due to its ease of use and flexibility of administration. Close monitoring and effective planning for adding MNP to home-made foods can confer multiple health benefits on malnourished children. The adherence and acceptability of MNP can be improved by providing better guidance to caregivers and by including MNP as a part of the comprehensive healthcare services targeted at malnourished children.

News Source: De Barros SF, Cardoso MA. Adherence to and acceptability of home fortification with vitamins and minerals in children aged 6 to 23 months: a systematic review. BMC public health. 2016 Apr 7;16(1):1.