Cochrane finds food as good as commercial Ready-to-use products

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Food as good as commercial  Ready-to-use therapeutic food for treatment of severe acute malnutrition in children from six months to five years of age

Schoonees A, Lombard M, Musekiwa A, Nel E, Volmink J   2013


Specially formulated foods for treating children with moderate acute malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries 


CLICK HERE  for statement by members of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics on the World Public Health Nutrition Association website. 

Policy Implications of Lancet Series on Nutrition, 2013: Guard against Commercial Exploitation of Malnutrition

June 24, 2013 


Excerpt from the Cochrane  Plain language summary on RUTFs

" Current evidence is limited and, therefore, we cannot conclude that there is a difference between RUTF and flour porridge as home treatment for severely malnourished children, or between RUTF given in different daily amounts or with different ingredients. Either RUTF or standard diet such as flour porridge can be used to treat severely malnourished children at home. Decisions should be based on availability, cost and practicality. In order to determine the effects of RUTF, more high-quality studies are needed".



Malnourished children have a higher risk of death and illness. Treating severe acute malnourished children in hospitals is not always desirable or practical in rural settings, and home treatment may be better. Home treatment can be food prepared by the carer, such as flour porridge, or commercially manufactured food such as ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). RUTF is made according to a standard, energy-rich composition defined by theWorld Health Organization (WHO). The benefits of RUTF include a low moisture

content, long shelf life without needing refrigeration and that it requires no preparation.


To assess the effects of home-based RUTF on recovery, relapse and mortality in children with severe acute malnutrition.

Search methods

We searched the following electronic databases up toApril 2013:CochraneCentral Register ofClinical Trials (CENTRAL),MEDLINE,

MEDLINE In-process, EMBASE, CINAHL, Science Citation Index, African Index Medicus, LILACS, ZETOC and three trials

registers. We also contacted researchers and clinicians in the field and handsearched bibliographies of included studies and relevant


Selection criteria

We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials where children between six months and five years of age with severe acute malnutrition were treated at home with RUTF compared to a standard diet, or different regimens and formulations of RUTFs compared to each other. We assessed recovery, relapse and mortality as primary outcomes, and anthropometrical changes, time to  recovery and adverse outcomes as secondary outcomes.





Cochrane MAM Review.pdf1.45 MB
Final Statement signed all 7.pdf180.08 KB