Supplementation with Fortified Lipid-Based and Blended Complementary Foods has Variable Impact on Body Composition Among Rural Bangladeshi Children: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial

J Nutr. 2020 Jul 1;150(7):1924-1932. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa061.


Background: Complementary food supplementation enhances linear growth and may affect body composition in children.

Objective: We aimed to determine the effect of complementary food supplements provided from the age of 6 to 18 mo on fat-free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM) gain among children in rural Bangladesh.

Methods: In an unblinded, cluster-randomized, controlled trial we tested the effects of 4 complementary food supplements for 1 y [chickpea, rice lentil, Plumpy'doz, and wheat-soy-blend++ (WSB++)] compared with no supplements on linear growth. Body composition was estimated using weight-length-based, age- and sex-specific equations at 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 mo and postintervention aged 24 mo. Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were applied to estimate the effect of each complementary food on mean FFM and FM from 9 to 18 and 24 mo compared with the control, adjusting for baseline measures. Sex interactions were also explored.

Results: In total, 3592 (65.9% of enrolled) children completed all anthropometric assessments. Estimated FFM and FM (mean ± SD) were 5.3 ± 0.6 kg and 1.4 ± 0.4 kg, respectively, at the age of 6 mo. Mean ± SE FFM and FM from 9 to 18 mo were 75.4 ± 14.0 g and 32.9 ± 7.1 g, and 61.0 ± 16.6 g and 30.0 ± 8.4 g, higher with Plumpy'doz and chickpea foods, respectively, than the control (P < 0.001). Estimated FFM was 41.5 ± 16.6 g higher in rice-lentil-fed versus control (P < 0.05) children. WSB++ had no impact on FFM or FM. A group-sex interaction (P < 0.1) was apparent with Plumpy'doz and rice-lentil foods, with girls involved in the intervention having higher estimated FFM and FM than control girls compared with no significant effect in boys. At 24 mo, FFM and FM remained higher only in girls eating Plumpy'doz compared with the controls (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: In this randomized trial, supplementation effected small shifts in apparent body composition in rural Bangladeshi children. Where seen, FFM increments were twice that of FM, in proportion to these compartments, and more pronounced in girls. FFM increased in line with reported improvements in length. This trial was registered at as NCT01562379.

Keywords: Bangladesh; childhood; complementary feeding; fat mass; fat-free mass.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Body Composition
  • Child Development*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Rural Population

Associated data