First Bites: Complementary Feeding - A Global Network Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

2014-08-27 03:15:19 | BioPortfolio


The specific aims of this project is to determine the impact of a daily intake of one half ounce of lyophilized meat between 6-18 months of age (0.5 oz for 6-12 mo; 0.75 oz for 12-18 mo) on linear growth velocity, zinc and iron intakes and status, brain growth and neurocognitive development, and infectious disease morbidity in populations traditionally dependent on non-micronutrient fortified plant foods for complementary feeding.


Inadequate and inappropriate complementary feeding are major factors contributing to excess morbidity and mortality in young children. Prominent among nutrient inadequacies are those of iron and zinc. While huge campaigns are being mounted to fortify complementary foods and to distribute supplements, the effectiveness of these programs is generally uncertain and they do not reach millions of rural poor. By comparison, little support is being given to local food-based solutions. These not only require diversity of plant foods but appear to require the inclusion of meat to achieve zinc and iron requirements. Local supplies of meat are achievable but only with a concerted international and local effort. To justify this effort requires a multi-site efficacy study, the results of which, if positive, will leave no doubt that the effort required to provide sustainable local sources of meat for complementary feeds is worthwhile. The principal hypothesis to be tested is that daily intake of beef (1 oz/d for 6-12 mo and 1.5 oz/d for 12-18 mo) added to usual primarily plant-derived complementary feeds plus selected repetitive nutrition education messages results in greater linear growth velocity than does a micronutrient (including Zn and Fe) fortified equi-caloric cereal/legume supplement plus the same educational messages. Participants from four sites in the Global Network which have stunting rates > 20%, i.e. Guatemala, Pakistan and Zambia will be randomized by clusters to receive either ½ oz lyophilized beef (equivalent to 1 oz cooked beef)/d or the equi-caloric micronutrient-fortified plant-based supplement (both increasing by 50% at age 1 year). Both groups will receive three repetitive messages delivered by study coordinators and through the local health system as part of integrated health care. These are: provide a thick puree/gruel; feed complementary foods at least three times per day; and maximize dietary diversity. These interventions will be preceded by messages to promote exclusive breast feeding until 6 months and to start complementary feeding promptly at that time as far as possible. The meat or fortified cereal supplement will be provided daily in a group setting for each cluster; as necessary the food intervention and messages will be delivered at home by the assigned community coordinator or alternate. Outcome measures, obtained by a separate group of local, trained assessment workers, include: longitudinal linear growth between 6-18 months (primary outcome); weight and head circumference; assessment of dietary variety and diversity at 6,9,12, and 18 months; indices of iron, zinc and Vitamin B12 status at 18 months; neurocognitive development at 18 months; and incidence of diarrhea and lower respiratory infections. A positive multi-country, multi-culture outcome of this trial will demonstrate the efficacy of a regular intake of meat commencing at age 6 months to achieve nutritionally complete complementary feeding and will provide a strong rationale for global efforts to enhance local supplies of meat and achieve acceptance of meats as complementary food.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label


Complementary Feeding


Lyophilized meat, Cereal


Kinshasa School of Public Health




Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:15:19-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A plant genus of the family POLYGONACEAE that is used as a cereal grain. Although the seeds are used as cereal, the plant is not one of the cereal grasses (POACEAE).

Nutritional support given via the alimentary canal or any route connected to the gastrointestinal system (i.e., the enteral route). This includes oral feeding, sip feeding, and tube feeding using nasogastric, gastrostomy, and jejunostomy tubes.

Meat such as beef, pork, or lamb which contains more MYOGLOBIN than POULTRY or SEAFOOD.

The aggregate enterprise of technically producing packaged meat.

Use of nursing bottles for feeding. Applies to humans and animals.

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