Estimates of the duration of untreated acute malnutrition in children from Niger

Isanaka S, Grais RF, Briend A, Checchi

Abstract

Expected incidence of acute malnutrition is the most appropriate measure for projecting the needs of a nutritional treatment program over time in terms of staffing, food, and other treatments, but direct estimation of incidence is rarely feasible at the onset of an intervention.

The authors used a compartmental model to estimate the duration of untreated moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in children aged 6-60 months.

The duration of untreated SAM, defined by weight-for-height z score, was 45 days. The duration of untreated MAM appears to have been shorter among children aged 6-35 months compared with those aged 36-60 months. Such estimates of the duration, and thus incidence, of untreated malnutrition can be used to improve projections of program needs and estimates of the global burden of acute malnutrition.

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