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To validate digitally displayed photographic portion-size estimation aids (PSEA) against a weighed meal record and compare findings with an atlas of printed photographic PSEA and actual prepared-food PSEA in a low-income country.
Participants served themselves water and five prepared foods, which were weighed separately before the meal and again after the meal to measure any leftovers. Participants returned the following day and completed a meal recall. They estimated the quantities of foods consumed three times using the different PSEA in a randomized order.
Two urban and two rural communities in southern Malawi.
Women (n 300) aged 18–45 years, equally divided by urban/rural residence and years of education (≤4 years and ≥5 years).
Responses for digital and printed PSEA were highly correlated (>91 % agreement for all foods, Cohen’s κw = 0·78–0·93). Overall, at the individual level, digital and actual-food PSEA had a similar level of agreement with the weighed meal record. At the group level, the proportion of participants who estimated within 20 % of the weighed grams of food consumed ranged by type of food from 30 to 45 % for digital PSEA and 40–56 % for actual-food PSEA. Digital PSEA consistently underestimated grams and nutrients across foods, whereas actual-food PSEA provided a mix of under- and overestimates that balanced each other to produce accurate mean energy and nutrient intake estimates. Results did not differ by urban and rural location or participant education level.
Digital PSEA require further testing in low-income settings to improve accuracy of estimations.
To investigate preferences for and ease-of-use perceptions of different aspects of printed and digitally displayed photographic portion-size estimation aids (PSEA) in a low-resource setting and to document accuracy of portion-size selections using PSEA with different visual characteristics.
A convergent mixed-methods design and stepwise approach were used to assess characteristics of interest in isolation. Participants served themselves food and water, which were weighed before and after consumption to measure leftovers and quantity consumed. Thirty minutes later, data collectors administered a meal recall using a PSEA and then a semi-structured interview.
Blantyre and Chikwawa Districts in the southern region of Malawi.
Ninety-six women, aged 18–45 years.
Preferences and ease-of-use perceptions favoured photographs rather than drawings of shapes, three and five portion-size options rather than three with four virtual portion-size options, a 45° rather than a 90° photograph angle, and simultaneous rather than sequential presentation of portion-size options. Approximately half to three-quarters of participants found the portion-size options represented appropriate amounts of foods or water consumed. Photographs with three portion sizes resulted in more accurate portion-size selections (closest to measured consumption) than other format and number of portion-size option combinations. A 45° angle and simultaneous presentation were more accurate than a 90° angle and sequential presentation of images.
Results from testing PSEA visual characteristics separately can be used to generate optimal PSEA, which can improve participants’ experiences during meal recalls.
To examine the association between household food insecurity and dietary diversity in the past 24h (dietary diversity score (DDS, range: 0–9); minimum dietary diversity (MDD, consumption of three or more food groups); consumption of nine separate food groups) among pregnant and lactating women in rural Malawi.
Two rural districts in Central Malawi.
Pregnant (n 589) and lactating (n 641) women.
Of surveyed pregnant and lactating women, 66·7 and 68·6 %, respectively, experienced moderate or severe food insecurity and only 32·4 and 28·1 %, respectively, met MDD. Compared with food-secure pregnant women, those who reported severe food insecurity had a 0·36 lower DDS (P<0·05) and more than threefold higher risk (OR; 95 % CI) of not consuming meat/fish (3·19; CI 1·68, 6·03). The risk of not consuming eggs (3·77; 1·04, 13·7) was higher among moderately food-insecure pregnant women. Compared with food-secure lactating women, those who reported mild, moderate and severe food insecurity showed a 0·36, 0·44 and 0·62 lower DDS, respectively (all P<0·05). The risk of not achieving MDD was higher among moderately (1·95; 1·06, 3·59) and severely (2·82; 1·53, 5·22) food-insecure lactating women. The risk of not consuming meat/fish and eggs increased in a dose–response manner among lactating women experiencing mild (1·75; 1·01, 3·03 and 2·81; 1·09, 7·25), moderate (2·66; 1·47, 4·82 and 3·75; 1·40, 10·0) and severe (5·33; 2·63, 10·8 and 3·47; 1·19, 10·1) food insecurity.
Addressing food insecurity during and after pregnancy needs to be considered when designing nutrition programmes aiming to increase dietary diversity in rural Malawi.
Safety of home fortificants in children is uncertain in areas where infections are common. We tested the hypothesis that provision of lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) containing Fe does not increase infectious morbidity in children.
Randomized controlled trial. Infants were randomised to receive 10, 20 or 40 g LNS/d; or no supplement until age 18 months. All LNS contained 6 mg Fe/d. Morbidity outcomes (serious adverse events, non-scheduled visits and guardian-reported morbidity episodes) were compared between control and intervention groups using a non-inferiority margin of 20 %.
Namwera and Mangochi catchment areas in rural Malawi.
Infants aged 6 months (n 1932).
The enrolled 1932 infants contributed 1306 child-years of follow-up. Baseline characteristics were similar across groups. Compared with the control group, the relative risk (95 % CI) of serious adverse events was 0·71 (0·48, 1·07), 0·67 (0·48, 0·95) and 0·91 (0·66, 1·25) in 10, 20 and 40 g LNS/d groups, respectively. The incidence rate ratio (95 % CI) of non-scheduled visits due to malaria was 1·10 (0·88, 1·37), 1·08 (0·89, 1·31) and 1·21 (1·00, 1·46), and of guardian-reported morbidity episodes was 1·04 (0·96, 1·11), 1·03 (0·97, 1·10) and 1·04 (0·97, 1·10), in the respective LNS groups.
Provision of 10 and 20 g LNS/d containing 6 mg Fe/d did not increase morbidity in the children. Provision of 40 g LNS/d did not affect guardian-reported illness episodes but may have increased malaria-related non-scheduled visits.
To determine if supplementation with corn–soya blend (CSB) or lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) improved the weight gain of moderately underweight infants and children when provided through the national health service.
A randomised, controlled, assessor-blinded clinical trial. Infants and children were randomised to receive for 12 weeks an average daily ration of 71 g CSB or 43 g LNS, providing 1188 kJ and 920 kJ, respectively, or no supplement (control). Main outcome was weight gain. Secondary outcomes included changes in anthropometric indices and incidence of serious adverse events. Intention-to-treat analyses were used.
Kukalanga, Koche, Katema and Jalasi health centres in Mangochi District, rural Malawi.
Underweight (weight-for-age Z-score <−2) infants and children aged 6–15 months (n 299).
Mean weight gain was 630 g, 680 g and 750 g in control, CSB and LNS groups, respectively (P = 0·21). When adjusted for baseline age, children receiving LNS gained on average 90 g more weight (P = 0·185) and their weight-for-length Z-score increased 0·22 more (P = 0·049) compared with those receiving no supplementation. No statistically significant differences were observed between the CSB and control groups in mean weight and length gain.
LNS supplementation provided during the lean season via through the national health service was associated with a modest increase in weight. However, the effect size was lower than that previously reported under more controlled research settings.
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