Fermented sorghum porridge fortified with Moringa leaf powder and baobab fruit pulp cured children from moderate acute malnutrition in Benin
Inappropriate feeding, too early introduction of complementary foods and restriction in food selection are a major cause of malnutrition among young children in developing countries. Food-to-food fortification is a good strategy to enhance the nutritional quality of children’s diet. This strategy is more and more promoted because it allows delivery of micronutrients to a large population in a cost-effective manner. The present study aimed at testing the effect of the consumption of sorghum porridge fortified with moringa leaf powder and baobab fruit pulp on the nutritional status of children aged 6 to 59 months in Northern Benin. A two-week intervention was implemented in Tanguiéta (Benin) among children affected by moderate acute malnutrition, using 400 g of fermented sorghum
porridge fortified with 15 g of a designed mix of moringa leaf powder and baobab fruit pulp. Sixty-three children aged 6–59 months who had malnutrition assessed by anthropometry were randomly selected and assigned to a treatment or a control group. Children in the treatment group consumed the fortified formula daily for two weeks in a nutritional rehabilitation hearth whereas those in the control group had their habitual diet. Their nutritional status was evaluated using anthropometry. Recovery rate and average weight gain of children were computed. Results show that daily consumption of the fortified food for two weeks did not significantly (P> 0.05) increase children’s weight in treatment vs. control. However, average weight gain was 9.85 g/kg/day in the treatment group and total recovery rate at risk of malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition was 62.50% among children who fully complied with the intervention. Fermented sorghum porridge fortified with moringa leaf powder and baobab fruit pulp may be promoted to scale in more regions of Benin as a local affordable and effective therapeutic food against child acute malnutrition. Further investigation of its potential effect while accounting for parasitic infection is needed, to eliminate all risks of intestinal micronutrient malabsorption or malaria and enhance the effectiveness of the fortified food on children’s weight as well as their iron status.
Key words: Food-to-food fortification, malnutrition, sorghum porridge, northern Benin
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