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Evidence-Based Direct Interventions to Prevent and Treat Undernutrition

Promoting good nutritional practices:

  • exclusive breastfeeding for a six-month period
  • complementary feeding for infants being weaned
  • improved hygiene and sanitation practices

Provision of micronutrients for young children and their mothers:

  • periodic vitamin A supplements
  • therapeutic zinc supplements for diarrhea management
  • multiple micronutrient powders
  • de-worming drugs for children (to reduce losses of nutrients)
  • iron-folic acid supplements for pregnant women to prevent and treat anemia
  • iodized oil capsules where iodized salt is unavailable

Provision of micronutrients through food fortification for all:

  • salt iodization
  • iron fortification of staple foods

Therapeutic feeding for malnourished children with special foods:

  • prevention or treatment for moderate undernutrition
  • treatment of severe undernutrition (severe acute malnutrition) with ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF)

Source: Scaling Up Nutrition: What Will it Cost? by Susan Horton, Meera Shekar, Ajay S. Mahal, Jana Krystene Brooks, Christine McDonald (2009).

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