Evaluative Studies on the Impact of an Extruded Soy-Cocoa Based Complementary Diet on Growth of the Undernourished Child

  •  Gibson Arueya    
  •  Oyediran Oyewole    
  •  Oluwatooyin Osundahunsi    


Undernutrition among children under five remains widespread culminating predominantly in linear growth deficits (? -2SD Units) with its attendant setbacks. Food-based interventions aimed at completely reversing this phenomenon have not had significant impact. Exploring novel dietary interventions has therefore become necessary.

A standard centrally processed food (soyflour + cocoa + corn starch) was subjected to efficacy trial. Using a pretest-posttest controlled experimental design, the impact of the diet was determined on 30 (randomly selected) undernourished children (aged 6-24 months) at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Clinic, Oni Memorial children’s Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. Anthropometric, Biochemical and haematological measurements were conducted over a two month duration including follow-up observations according to standard methods.

Results of mean values (cm/month) of linear growth velocity observed for intervention (2.59 ± 2.2) was higher and significantly different from control (0.94 ± 0.08) (p ? 0.05). Elimination of linear growth deficits (? - 2SD units) was successful in 75% and 30% of test subjects aged 6-12 months and 12-24 months respectively using WHO (2006) child growth standard as reference. These outcomes were at variance from the control (p ? 0.05) where deficits persisted. Serum Albumin normalized, having risen by 21.8% in the intervention from 35.5 g/L but contrasted sharply with control’s 4.4% rise from 33.9g/L. Haemoglobin values attained 6.96 mmol/L (Intervention) and 6.14 mmol/L (control) following a similar trend.

The impact of an extruded soy-cocoa based complementary diet has been evaluated and found to be effective in reducing linear growth deficits in children under age two especially those between 6-12 months. Its use for Nutrition rehabilitation is recommended.

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