Effect of Gum Arabic in Management of Malnourished Children Aged 6 – 59 Months

Duria Abdelraheim M. A. Omer, Faiza M. Ahmed Hilali


Background: Malnutrition is globally the most important risk factor for morbidity and mortality, contributing to more than half of deaths in children worldwide. Gum Arabic is indigestible food ingredient with a potential effect as prebiotic and antidiarrheal. Aim of the study: To determine the effect of gum Arabic in management of malnourished children aged 6- 59 months and its effect on edema, diarrhea, and mood changes among them. Method:  This is an interventional, open-label randomized, controlled trial, hospital-based study conducted among 162 malnourished child admitted to Ahmed Gasim Teaching Hospital and Mohammed Elamin Hamid Pediatric Hospital during Jan. – July 2015. Participants were selected randomly, and equally distributed to control group (81 malnourished children) who were managed as guided by the WHO developed protocol for managing malnutrition and study group (81 malnourished children) received gum Arabic in addition to management protocol and the both groups received management for 2 weeks (30 mg/day for children > 1 year and 15 mg/day for children < 1 year). Results: Out of 162 malnourished children, 54.3% had age of 13- 24 months, males were 64.2%. On starting, 72.8% had weight for height <-3SD, 46.3% of them had diarrhea, 35.2% had edema, 65.4 were irritable and 24.1% were apathetic. On 14th day, in study and control groups, mean WFH increased by 9.26% and 7.6% respectively, diarrhea stopped in 97.06% and 78.05% respectively, edema subsided in 96.7% and 57.1% respectively, Also, 98.6% from study group and 73.2% from control group were active and smiling. The variation in the 4 assessed variables was revealed statistically significant (P value < 0.05). Conclusion and recommendation: Gum Arabic found to have positive effect when added to the WHO management protocol for severe acute malnutrition. Wide and well-established use of gum Arabic as Prebiotic will increase its economic values.

Keywords: Gum Arabic, Malnourished, Children

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