Effect of calorie supplementation on growth of undernourished children

Gopalan, C. ; Swaminathan, M. C. ; Krishna Kumari, V. K. ; Hanumantha Rao, D. ; Vijayaraghavan, K. (1973) Effect of calorie supplementation on growth of undernourished children American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 26 . pp. 563-566. ISSN 0002-9165

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Official URL: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/5/563


The results reported here may be generally applicable to poor communities in several Asian countries where dietaries are based largely on cereals and to a smaller extent on legumes and pulses. They may perhaps not be applicable to situations in some African countries where the staples are tapioca and plantain. The present observations should not be interpreted to mean that the current home diets in the concerned poor communities are satisfactory and do not need improvement. On the contrary, these diets are deficient in a number of nutrients, particularly vitamin A, riboflavin, iron, and possibly calcium. It should, however, be possible to overcome some of these deficiencies by improving the existing dietaries through the inclusion of relatively inexpensive foods that are locally available and well within the reach of the poor. A question often raised is whether, in view of the bulk arising from low fat content and low calorie concentration, young children would be able to consume predominantly cereal-based diets in quantities adequate to meet their calorie needs. The present study shows that the bulk should not present an insuperable problem provided the total daily diet is divided into several appropriate meals in the course of the day. The immediate practical approach towards combating malnutrition in children living in poor rural Asian communities would seem to lie in educating these communities in bridging the calorie gap with the present dietaries after such improvement, rather than in distributing elaborately processed "protein-rich formulations," which are unnecessary and expensive.

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