Impact of lipid-based nutrient supplements on prevention and treatment of childhood moderate undernutrition

Titilope Ruth Oluwaniyi, Regina Keith, Jose-Luis Alvarez, Amanda R Amorim Adegboye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review aims at assessing the effectiveness of LNS interventions for prevention and/or treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), stunting and other anthropometric indicators for undernutrition in children younger than 5 years.

Eighteen clinical trials on LNS (soybased or milk-based) supplementation in children were compared with habitual diet/control or corn-soy blend (CSB). Mean changes in height for age (HAZ), weight for age (WAZ) and weight for height z-scores (WHZ) were assessed as primary outcomes. The secondary outcomes included: weight gain, height, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC), recovery from MAM, occurrence of fever, diarrhoea and cough.

The pooled estimate revealed a statistically significant increase in WAZ (weighted mean difference [WMD] =0.09; 95%CI= 0.02, 0.15; p=0.01), WHZ (WMD=0.14; 95%CI= 0.01, 0.26; p=0.000) and improved recovery from MAM (Risk Ratio [RR] = 1.37; 95%CI= 1.14, 1.65; p=0.000) in children receiving LNS compared with control or CBS. No significant effect was observed in HAZ (WMD=0.00;95%CI=-0.02,0.03: p=0.578). Children fed with milk-based LNS (RR=1.68; 95%CI=1.17, 2.39; p=0.005) were more likely to recover significantly from MAM when compared with CSB.

Although there is evidence that LNS yield better nutritional outcomes than CSB and control, it is impossible to conclude that the milk-based LNS are superior to soy-based LNS and whether age and duration of intervention significantly affect the effectiveness of LNS on childhood undernutrition. Further research is required before these products can be recommended at scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-25
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Food Nutrition and Public Health
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Lipid-based nutrient supplements
  • undernutrition
  • CMAM
  • childhood


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