Nutritional quality of a ready-to-use food, and its acceptability to healthy and HIV-infected children receiving antiretroviral treatment
AbstractObjectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the nutritional quality of a ready-to-use food (RUF), and its acceptability to children who were “healthy” and to those who were human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Design: This was a cross-sectional survey that assessed the consumer acceptability of the RUF by the children.
Setting and subjects: One hundred and eighty-eight children were selected from six schools, a day care and a hospital in Pietermaritzburg. Of these children, 123 were “healthy”, and 65 HIV-infected and receiving ART.
Outcome measures: The outcome measure of the study was the nutritional quality of the RUF in terms of its nutrient levels relative to appropriate nutritional standards, and its acceptability rating by the children.
Results: The RUF had appreciable levels of energy (2 624 kJ/100 g) and protein (15.7 g/100 g).The nutritional composition met the World Health Organization/World Food Programme/the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition/The United Nations Children’s Fund recommendations for an RUF regarding energy, protein and essential amino acid levels. Sensory evaluation indicated that the RUF was acceptable to both children who were healthy and to those who were HIV-infected. Generally, more than 75% of the participants in both groups rated the product overall as “good”. More than 65% of the children liked the taste, smell and mouth feel.
Conclusion: The RUF that was used in this study is a good source of energy and quality protein, and is acceptable to children. Further micronutrient analysis would determine the additional role of the RUF in alleviating micronutrient deficiencies, including vitamin A, zinc and iron. Since the RUF is acceptable to children who were healthy and to those who were HIV-infected on ART, it can be used to address proteinenergy malnutrition in these target groups.
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