Effect of lipid-based nutrient supplement-Medium quantity on reduction of stunting in children 6-23 months of age in Sindh, Pakistan: A cluster randomized controlled trial

Gul Nawaz Khan, Sumra Kureishy, Shabina Ariff, Arjumand Rizvi, Muhammad Sajid, Cecilia Garzon, Ali Ahmad Khan, Saskia de Pee, Sajid Bashir Soofi, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Chronic childhood malnutrition, or stunting, remains a persistent barrier to achieve optimal cognitive development, child growth and ability to reach full potential. Almost half of children under-five years of age are stunted in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the provision of lipid-based nutrient supplement-medium-quantity (LNS-MQ) known as Wawamum will result in a 10% reduction in risk of being stunted at the age of 24 months in the intervention group compared with the control group. DESIGN: A cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted in Thatta and Sujawal districts of Sindh province, Pakistan. A total of 870 (419 in intervention; 451 in control) children between 6-18 months old were enrolled in the study. The unit of randomization was union council and considered as a cluster. A total of 12 clusters, 6 in each study group were randomly assigned to intervention and control group. All children received standard government health services, while children in the intervention group also received 50 grams/day of Wawamum. RESULTS: Children who received Wawamum were found to have a significantly reduced risk of stunting (RR = 0.91, 95% CI; 0.88-0.94, p<0.001) and wasting (RR = 0.78, 95% CI; 0.67-0.92, p = 0.004) as compared to children who received the standard government health services. There was no evidence of a reduction in the risk of underweight (RR = 0.94, 95% CI; 0.85-1.04, p = 0.235) in the intervention group compared to the control group. Statistically significant reduction in anaemia in the intervention group was also found as compared to the control group (RR = 0.97, 95% CI; 0.94-0.99, p = 0.042). The subgroup analysis by age, showed intervention effect is significant in reduction of risk of stunting in younger children of aged 6-12 month (RR = 0.83, 95% CI; 0.81-0.86, p = <0.001) and their older peers aged 13-18 month- (RR = 0.90, 95% CI; 0.83-0.97, p = 0.008). The mean compliance of Wawamum was 60% among children. CONCLUSIONS: The study confirmed that the provision of Wawamum to children 6-23 months of age is effective in reducing the risk of stunting, wasting and anaemia. This approach should be scaled up among the most food insecure areas/households with a high prevalence of stunting to achieve positive outcomes for nutrition and health. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02422953. Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT02422953.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0237210
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of lipid-based nutrient supplement-Medium quantity on reduction of stunting in children 6-23 months of age in Sindh, Pakistan: A cluster randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this