SQ-LNS, with or without added zinc, do not cause excessive fat deposition in Burkinabe children: results from a cluster-randomized community trial

European Journal of Nutrition
Publication Date
July 2022
Souheila Abbeddou et al.



Purpose: Public health interventions to address stunting and wasting should be evaluated for possibly contributing to obesity risk. The present study tested the hypothesis that small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS) might increase fat deposition, and that additional zinc provided via SQ-LNS or in the form of dispersible tablets would increase fat-free mass (FFM) accretion.

Methods: Using a two-stage, cluster-randomized trial design, 34 communities were randomly assigned to the intervention cohort (IC) or non-intervention cohort (NIC), and family compounds within the IC were randomly assigned to receive different amounts of zinc (0, 5 or 10 mg zinc) incorporated in SQ-LNS or 5 mg zinc in the form of dispersible tablets along with treatment for diarrhea, malaria and fever. Body composition was assessed in a subset of IC (n = 201) and NIC (n = 74) children at 9 and 18 months using the deuterium dilution method. A mixed linear model was used to examine average change in FFM and % fat mass (%FM) among intervention groups and by cohort.

Results: Children in the IC had significantly greater change in FFM (Mean (95% Confidence Interval)) (1.57 (1.49, 1.64) kg) compared to the NIC (1.35 (1.23, 1.46) kg; p = 0.005). There were no significant differences in the change in %FM between the NIC and IC or among the intervention groups.

Conclusion: SQ-LNS, along with morbidity treatment increased weight gain and FFM in young children from 9 to 18 months of age without increasing FM deposition. Additional zinc supplementation did not affect changes in FFM or %FM.


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