Fortified Drink Improves Third World Nutrition

did not receive the fortified drink. After six months on the fortified drink, children grew 3.4 centimeters (1.3 inches) compared with the nondrinkers' growth of 2.7 centimeters (1 inch), and gained 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) compared with only 1.3 kilogram s (2.8 pounds) among the other children.

"The beverage supplement was both effective in improving nutritional status and was very popular with the children," said Latham , a physician who was director of Cornell's Program in International Nutrition for 25 years.

The study was assisted by Cornell statistician Edward Frongillo, and several Tanzanian scientists, including Godwin Ndossi, who earned his doctorate at Cornell in 1992. Ndossi was supported by the Bryceson Fellowship at Cornell, named for Derek Bryceson, the late husband of primate researcher Jane Goodall, who lives in Tanzania and is a professor-at-large at Cornell.

"Whereas other researchers stress megadoses of particular nutrients to relieve this deficiency or that deficiency, this approach can address several deficiences," noted Latham. "It is also a simple approach that with a locally manufactured product widely distributed could be administered easily by mothers without any medical intervention."

Latham previously reported that a single dose of medicine costing 20 cents a person could dramatically improve the health status of children and boost the low work capacity and low productivity of Third World workers. Albendazole, he found, eradicates the intestinal worms that infest 3 billion people worldwide and lead to growth failure in children.

The latest study was supported in part by the Canadian Micronutrient Initiative, UNICEF, Procter and Gamble and SmithKline Beecham in Britain.


Contact: Susan S. Lang
Cornell University News Service

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