PhD student in 3rd year, College of medicine


legume based complementary food has the potential to reduce undernutrition and disease in poor areas

Undernutrition has been implicated in causing 3.1 million deaths in under five children worldwide. The prevalence of undernutrition, which presents as underweight, stunting and wasting is higher in asian and African nations. The prevalence increases around 6 to 18 months of age as the children are weaned from exclusive breastfeeding to household food and prevalence of infection increases. The weaning foods in Sub-Saharan Africa tend to be monotonous and low in proteins and micronutrients. Legume based weaning foods have been introduced to improve the nutrient density of these foods and lower the incidence of undernutrition. In Malawi, a corn-soy blend is recommended for weaning, however, soy is the most expensive legume on the market and is not grown in all regions of the nation. Common beans and cowpeas are cheaper and grow in all regions of the nation. In our study, we aim to show that using common beans and cowpeas for complementary feeding in rural Malawian children, could improve the energy and nutrient intake in this population than the nationally recommended corn-soy blend. Success of this intervention could change the policy on complementary feeding in the country and help reduce the burden of stunting which is currently at 37%, for the people that need the nutrient dense food the most will be able to assess the common beans and cowpeas easier than corn-soy blend.


Common beans and cowpeas as complementary foods to reduce environmental enteric dysfunction and stunting in Malawian children: study protocol for two randomized controlled trials.

Abstract: Interventions to decrease the burden of childhood malnutrition are urgently needed, as millions of children die annually owing to undernutrition and hundreds of millions more are left cognitively and physically stunted. Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), a pervasive chronic subclinical inflammatory condition among children that develops when complementary foods are introduced, places them at high risk of stunting, malabsorption, and poor oral vaccine efficacy. Improved interventions to reduce the burden of EED and stunting are expected to markedly improve the nutritional status and survival of children throughout resource-limited settings.We will conduct, in parallel, two prospective randomized controlled clinical trials to determine whether common beans or cowpeas improve growth, ameliorate EED, and alter the intestinal microbiome during a high-risk period in the lives of rural Malawian children. Study 1 will enroll children at 6 months of age and randomize them to receive common beans, cowpeas, or a standard complementary food for 6 months. Anthropometry will be compared among the three groups; EED will be assessed using a dual-sugar absorption test and by quantifying human intestinal mRNA for inflammatory messages; and the intestinal microbiota will be characterized by deep sequencing of fecal DNA, to enumerate host microbial populations and their metabolic capacity. Study 2 will enroll children 12-23 months old and follow them for 12 months, with similar interventions and assessments as Study 1.By amalgamating the power of rigorous clinical trials and advanced biological analysis, we aim to elucidate the potential of two grain legumes to reduce stunting and EED in a high-risk population. Legumes have potential as an affordable and effective complementary food intervention, given their cultural acceptability, nutritional content, and agricultural feasibility in sub-Saharan Africa.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02472262 and NCT02472301 .

Pub.: 19 Nov '15, Pinned: 14 Dec '17

Complementary feeding with cowpea reduces growth faltering in rural Malawian infants: a blind, randomized controlled clinical trial.

Abstract: Background: Growth faltering is common in rural African children and is attributed to inadequate dietary intake and environmental enteric dysfunction (EED).Objective: We tested the hypothesis that complementary feeding with cowpea or common bean flour would reduce growth faltering and EED in 6-mo-old rural Malawians compared with the control group receiving a corn-soy blend.Design: A prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted in which children received daily feeding for 6 mo (200 kcal/d when 6-9 mo old and 300 kcal/d when 10-12 mo old). The primary outcomes were change in length-for-age z score (LAZ) and improvements in EED, as measured by percentage of lactulose excretion (%L). %L <0.2% was considered normal. Anthropometric measurements and %L through urine were compared between each legume group and the control group with Student's t test.Results: Of the 355 infants enrolled, 291 infants completed the trial, and 288 were breastfed throughout the duration of the study. Cowpea and common bean added 4.6-5.2 g protein/d and 4-5 g indigestible carbohydrate/d to the diet. LAZ and weight-for-height z score were reduced in all 3 groups from 6 to 12 mo of age. The changes in LAZ [mean (95% CI)] for the cowpea, common bean, and control groups from 6 to 9 mo were -0.14 (-0.24, -0.04), -0.27 (-0.38, -0.16), and -0.27 (-0.35, -0.19), respectively. LAZ was reduced less in infants receiving cowpea than in those receiving control food from 6 to 9 mo (P = 0.048). The absolute value of %L did not differ between the dietary groups at 9 mo of age (mean ± SD: 0.30 ± 0.43, 0.23 ± 0.21, and 0.26 ± 0.31 for cowpea, common bean, and control, respectively), nor did the change in %L from 6 to 9 mo.Conclusion: Addition of cowpea to complementary feeding in Malawian infants resulted in less linear growth faltering. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02472262.

Pub.: 03 Nov '17, Pinned: 14 Dec '17