Supplementary foods for the management of moderate acute malnutrition in infants and children 6-59 months of age

Technical note


Publication details

Number of pages: 20
Publication date: 2012
Languages: English, French, Portuguese
ISBN: 978 92 4 150442 3



It is estimated that moderate acute malnutrition affects around 40 million children contributing to increased morbidity and mortality, impaired intellectual development, suboptimal adult work capacity and even increased risk of disease in adulthood. The dietary management of moderate acute malnutrition in children should normally be based on the optimal use of locally available nutrient-dense foods. In situations of food shortage, or where some nutrients are not sufficiently available through local foods, specially formulated supplementary foods are usually required to supplement the regular diet.

Currently there are no evidence-informed recommendations for the composition of supplementary foods specially designed for the management of children with moderate acute malnutrition. This technical note summarizes the available evidence and presents some principles underlying the dietary management of children with moderate acute malnutrition with a proposed nutrient composition pro-file for supplementary foods relevant to situations in which their use may be warranted. WHO recognizes the need for more research on the composition, acceptability and use of supplementary foods for the management of moderate acute malnutrition to further validate the efficacy and effectiveness of the proposed composition.

The proposed nutrient compositions are to be used as a guide for target nutrient intakes from specific foods for specific populations, rather than limits for manufacturing specifications.