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Clinical Trial Summary

According to the latest estimates, 144 million children under age five experience growth faltering. Early life growth faltering or stunting is predictive of a wide array of negative long-term outcomes, including reduced adult height and productivity, diminished health and reduced lifetime incomes. This study builds on a previous pilot study, which suggests that providing parents with tools to measure children's growth at home may be an effective way to prevent early life growth faltering. The objectives of this study are to assess 1) the impact of growth charts on early childhood linear growth; and 2) whether the impact of growth charts can be increased with the provision of food supplements to parents.


Clinical Trial Description

More than 250 million children under the age of five are currently estimated to not reach their developmental potential due to poverty, malnutrition and infectious diseases. According to the latest estimates, 21% of children under age 5 in LMICs are more than two standard deviations shorter than the global reference median and thus considered stunted according to WHO guidelines. Early life growth faltering interferes with children's ability to learn and has been associated with reduced subsequent development and physical growth. Stunting has also been linked to delayed school enrollment, reduced educational attainment, poor health, and decreased well-being. There is a growing consensus among scientists, the global public health and development community as well as among governments that addressing stunting is a top priority for promoting children's development and well being, and for increasing children's future economic potential. While a large literature has highlighted the importance of favorable environmental and socioeconomic factors for the prevention of early growth faltering, effective interventions to reduce growth faltering in low income settings remain scarce. Among families of affected children, stunting often goes unrecognized in communities where growth faltering is common. Even children with substantial delays in their physical development may be perceived as of normal size in comparison to peer children in their community. In many Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), height measurements are not routinely conducted as part of child health checkups. In Zambia, many parents were found to be unaware of their child's growth deficits, which makes it difficult for them to act to combat chronic malnutrition and stunting. In a previous pilot study, the investigator team found that simple growth charts installed at children's homes can be an effective tool for increasing parental awareness of children's nutritional need and growth trajectories. The objective of this trial is thus to rigorously assess these growth charts through a cluster-randomized controlled trial to be conducted in three districts of Zambia. Given that larger improvements in height may only be possible with additional nutritional input in this setting, the trial will also assess the extent to which early life growth can be improved through the provision of lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS). The overall objective of this project is to assess the impact of growth charts as well as nutritional supplements on children's physical growth in a representative sample of Zambia communities. This larger objective can be divided into three specific aims: Specific Aim 1: Assess the impact of growth charts installed in children's homes on children's physical growth. Specific Aim 2: Assess the extent to which growth trajectories can be modified through the provision of LNS. Specific Aim 3: Assess the extent to which growth trajectories can be modified through the joint provision of LNS and home-installed growth charts ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT05120427
Study type Interventional
Source Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute
Contact
Status Active, not recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date September 1, 2020
Completion date June 30, 2023

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