PhD defence: Fish-based, ready-to-use therapeutic food in treatment of severe acute malnutrition

Photo: UNICEF Cambodia

Sanne Sigh is defending her PhD thesis

Fish-based, ready-to-use therapeutic food in treatment of severe acute malnutrition

Optimisation, acceptability and effectiveness of a fish-based RUTF, and correlates of polyunsaturated fatty acid status

Time

23 May 2019, 13:00

Place

Aud. A1-04.01, Grønnegårdsvej 7, Frederiksberg

Opponents 

Professor Henrik Friis (chair), Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Nutrition Specialist Victor Owino, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria

Professor in Global Nutrition Eva Charlotta Ekström, Department of Women´s and Children´s Health, International Child Health and Nutrition, Uppsala University, Sweden

Main supervisor

Associate Professor Nanna Roos, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

NEXS Co-supervisor

Dr. Frank Tommo Wieringa, UMR-204 Nutripass, Institute de Recherche pour le Développement, Université de Montpellier, SupAgro, France

Field supervisor

Dr. Chhoun Chamnan, Department of Fisheries Technologies and Quality control, Fisheries Administration, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

About the thesis

Severe acute malnutrition is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate treatment with specialised ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), fulfilling the nutritional requirements for nutritional rehabilitation. In Cambodia, the commonly used imported RUTFs are not well accepted for taste and texture. Therefore, a locally produced RUTF adapted to local preferences was developed. Seasonally available small fish was used, as a dried powder, as a locally produced high-quality protein ingredient in the RUTF.

The aim of this PhD thesis was to optimise the fish-based RUTF product and to assess the acceptability among children and their caregivers. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the fish-based product was assessed in a 8 weeks randomised controlled trial in children in treatment for severe acute malnutrition, in comparison with a standard milk-based product. Lastly, whole blood polyunsaturated fatty acid status and their potential associations with nutrition and health status were assessed.

The results showed that small dried fish from the Mekong River can be used in a RUTF product optimised to taste and preferences in Cambodia. The fish-based RUTF is a potential locally produced alternative to the imported milk-based RUTF currently used in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in Cambodia. The study also showed that low status of polyunsaturated fatty acids was prevalent in malnourished children.

2019, 196 pages.