Authors: D.G..H. de Silva(1), A. Pathmeshwaran(2), W. Karunasekera(1), and S. Rajindrajith(1) ([email protected])
1Department of Paediatrics and (2)Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Thalagolla Road, Ragama, Sri Lanka
Optimum nutrition and good feeding of infants and young children are among the most important determinants of their health, growth, and development. A common pattern seen in the growth charts of Sri Lankan children is growth faltering after the age of 4 months. This could be because of poor-feeding practices, such as inadequate energy density, avoidance of oil and fat due to cultural beliefs, delay in introducing appropriate solids, frequent milk feeds at the expense of complementary feeds, and use of semi-solid and liquid feeds beyond the ‘critical’' period leading to refusal of solids. Objective: The efficacy of a home-made energy-dense weaning formula on growth faltering during infancy was evaluated.
Infants attending 4 child health welfare clinics of Medical Officer of Health area, Ragama, Sri Lanka, were recruited in the study at the age of 4 months. Infants attending 3 clinics were included in the intervention group, and the infants from the 4th clinic served as controls. The intervention group received a specially designed hand-blender, recipe, and advice to prepare a weaning food containing approximately 110-130 kcal/100 mL. The control group received weaning foods without any intervention. All of them were followed up monthly by home-visits with regular growth monitoring up to the age of 12 months. Results: In total, 142 infants completed the study (83 from intervention group and 69 in control group). The infants in the intervention group gained significantly more weight than the control group (intervention group 2.43+0.72 kg and control group 2.02+0.62 kg, p=0.0002). Both the groups showed growth
faltering during the study period but the drop in the z-score for mean weight for age was less marked in the intervention group.
The study has shown that the home-made complementary feeding preparation with high energy density is more effective in improving the weight gain of infants than conventional weaning foods.