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Therapeutic food for Malnutrition Treatment
Kinds:Bluelight Encyclopedia   Time:08/10/2012   By:Tracy Wu
Treating severe acute malnutrition
evere acute malnutrition is a life-threatening condition requiring urgent treatment.

The prevalence of severe acute malnutrition is estimated at around 2% in the least-developed countries 

and 1% in other developing countries [UNICEF Global Database on Child Malnutrition. 2005], which 

translates to about 20 million severely malnourished children in the world at all time.

The treatment of severe acute malnutrition is based on 3 phases and requires specific products to answer 

the particular needs of extremely weakened organisms.

Phase 1 - Recovering normal metabolic function and rehydration.
Patients without an adequate appetite and/or a major medical complication are initially admitted to a 

hospital or a therapeutic feeding centre (TFC) for Phase 1 treatment.

During this phase patients are given a milk formula called F75. Rapid weight gain at this stage is 

dangerous, that is why F75 is formulated so that patients do not gain weight during this stage while they 

recover normal metabolic function and nutrition-electrolytic balance.

A common medical complication in phase 1 is dehydration, which should preferably be treated orally.

 

Transition Phase
A transition phase has been introduced for patients in hospitals/TFC because a sudden change to the 

phase 2 diet, before physiological function is restored, can be dangerous and lead to electrolyte 

disequilibrium.

During this phase the patients start to gain weight slowly as a fortified milk formula called F-100 or a 

Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is introduced.


Phase 2 - Gaining weight with the right kind of therapeutic food.
Whenever patients have more appetite and no major medical complication they enter Phase 2. Many 

patients arrive to the hospital/TFC with a fairly good appetite and are admitted directly into Phase 2. 

During this phase, patients need a therapeutic food that will enable quick and sustainable weight gain 

(more than 8 g/kg/day). 

Traditionally patients in phase 2 were kept in hospitals/TFC and given the therapeutic WHO F-100 fortified 

milk powder. But this way of treating severe malnutrition is not always the most effective in developing 

countries where caretakers have to travel long distances to access medical care, leaving their other 

children unattended.
 
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