Effect of catfish supplementation on the fatty acid status and growth of undernourished rural preschool children under 6 years of age: an intervention trial in Lebowa, South Africa
Van Jaarsveld, P.J.
Van Rooyen, J.
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A group of 102 preschool children aged 13–69 months from a rural area of Lebowa were selected from a crosssectional study of 659 children for an intervention trial (12 months) to study the effect of catfish (Clarias gariepinus) supplementation on their plasma phospholipid fatty acid status and growth. They were classified into undernourished and control groups according to their weight-for-age. The undernourished children (n = 52) received 43 g fish and 7.5 g sunflower cooking oil per day, whereas a matched (age and sex) well-nourished control group (n = 50) was not supplemented. At baseline, after 6 months and after 12 months of the study, anthropometry, haematology, blood biochemistry and plasma phospholipid fatty acid analyses were done. In the undernourished group, high baseline oleic acid (18:1ω9) levels in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) were replaced by docosahexaenoic acid (22:6ω3) with supplementation. In plasma PC, this reduction in 18:1ω9 and increase in 22:6ω3 was associated with significant increases in weight-for-age Z-scores, P = 0.0378 and P = 0.0415, respectively. The fish supplement and cooking oil that supplied additional 7% energy (7% E) and nutrients promoted growth of undernourished children, although this was inadequate for sustained growth during the second 6 months of intervention.
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