Background: With a prevalence of 3.1%, approximately, 450 000 children in Bangladesh are having severe acute malnutrition (SAM). There is currently no national community-based program run by government to take care of these children, one of the reasons being lack of access to ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).
Objective: To develop RUTF using locally available food ingredients and test its acceptability.
Methods: A checklist was prepared for all food ingredients available and commonly consumed in Bangladesh that have the potential of being used for developing a RUTF. Linear programming was used to identify the combinations of nutrients that would result in an ideal RUTF. To test the acceptability of 2 local RUTFs compared to the prototype RUTF, Plumpy'Nut, a clinical trial with a crossover design was conducted among 30 children in the Dhaka Hospital of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh. The acceptability was determined by using the mean proportion of offered food consumed by the children themselves.
Results: Two RUTFs were developed, one based on chickpea and the other on rice-lentils. The total energy content of 100 g of chickpea and rice-lentil-based RUTF were 537.4 and 534.5 kcal, protein 12.9 and 13.5 g, and fat 31.8 and 31.1 g, respectively, without any significant difference among the group. On an average, 85.7% of the offered RUTF amount was consumed by the children in 3 different RUTF groups which implies that all types of RUTF were well accepted by the children.
Conclusion: Ready-to-use therapeutic foods were developed using locally available food ingredients-rice, lentil, and chickpeas. Chickpea-based and rice-lentil-based RUTF were well accepted by children with SAM.
Keywords: Bangladesh; children; local ingredients; ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs); severe acute malnutrition.