Micronutrient intake in children with severe acute malnutrition
In children who are 6–59 months of age, severe acute malnutrition is defined by a very low weight-for-height/weight-for-length, or clinical signs of bilateral pitting oedema, or a very low mid-upper arm circumference. Severe acute malnutrition affects an estimated 19 million children under 5 years of age worldwide and is estimated to account for approximately 400,000 child deaths each year.
Children with severe acute malnutrition often have micronutrient deficiencies which need to be corrected for a complete nutritional recovery.
All severely malnourished children should receive adequate vitamins and minerals. For this reason, commercially available therapeutic milks, ready-to-use therapeutic foods, and rehydration solutions for malnourished children contain a mix of minerals and vitamins. Ready-made vitamin and mineral mixes can also be used in the preparation of local therapeutic foods and rehydration solutions.
This is a summary of one of several WHO recommendations on the management of SAM in infants and children. The full set of recommendations can be found in 'Full set of recommendations' and in the guidelines and guidance documents under ‘WHO documents’ below.
Updates on the management of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children
Pocket book of hospital care for children: second edition. Guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources
Other guidance documents
Related Cochrane reviews
- Supplementary vitamin E, selenium, cysteine and riboflavin for preventing kwashiorkor in preschool children in developing countries