News article

Micronutrient supplementation link to reduced stunting in high-risk infants

Posted:  Monday, May 16, 2016

Mineral and vitamin supplementations reduce stunting in low-birth-weight infants

Mineral and vitamin supplements help reduce stunting in infants! In developing countries, more than 25% of live births are full term with low birth weight (FT-LBW). A new study conducted in Bangladesh has revealed that the administration of micronutrient powder (MNP) significantly reduces the incidence of stunting in vulnerable infants.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was a multicentre, prospective, randomised study. Sohana Shafique, the lead author from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladeshassessed the effect of water-based hand sanitiser (HS) and MNP supplementation on infections and stunting in FT-LBW infants.

The 2 × 2 factorial, cluster-randomised trial involved 467 FT-LBW infants in 48 clusters from the age of 0 to 5 months and 6 to 12 months postpartum. For the initial 6 months, the no HS (Control) and HS groups were maintained. They were further divided into 4 groups for the next six months: no HS and no MNP (Control), HS only, MNP only and HS as well as MNP. All groups received the same general nutrition, health, and hygiene education at enrolment and throughout the study period.

The study results indicated that the use of HS alone did not have a significant impact on the reduction of infection or stunting in high-risk infants. However, FT-LBW infants who received the MNP (with or without the HS) were significantly less stunted at 12 months compared to controls (OR= 0.35; 95% CI= 0.15-0.84; P=0.017). The study concluded that use of a mineral- and vitamin-enhanced MNP but not HS reduced stunting in FT-LBW infants.

News Source:Shafique S, Sellen DW, Lou W, Jalal CS, Jolly SP, Zlotkin SH. Mineral-and vitamin-enhanced micronutrient powder reduces stunting in full-term low-birth-weight infants receiving nutrition, health, and hygiene education: a 2× 2 factorial, cluster-randomized trial in Bangladesh. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 May 1;103(5):1357-69.