The use of Moringa Oleifra leaf powder in the management of sub-clinical protein energy malnutrition in childen between the ages of 6-36 months

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Malnutrition is a major factor in the often high rates of infant mortality in the tropics and sub-tropics. Current treatment for children involves the use of special formulated foods which are either labeled as F-100 or F-75. These formulated foods are expensive and not sustainable in the long term. A study was undertaken to evaluate the potential of Moringa oleifera leaf powder in the management of malnutrition in children between the ages of 6 - 36 months. 25 selected malnourished children were fed 15 grams of dry Moringa leaf powder in their diets for 4 weeks. Anthropometric indicators were measured (weight to height ratio), haematological (haemoglobin and corrected white blood cell) and biochemical analysis (serum urea and serum albumin) were also carried out. Haematological results showed that daily addition of Moringa oleifera leaf powder to the diets of the children resulted in a significant (p < 0.001) linear increase in the haemoglobin levels of subjects. The individuals understudied had corrected white blood cell count that fell within the reference range of 4.5 - 13.5 K / \i\ both at the baseline studies and at the end of the study period. Biochemical results obtained showed that all the subjects had serum urea levels within the normal range of 1.4-6.8mmol/l and addition of Moringa leaf powder to the foods of the subjects resulted in a significant (p < 0.001) linear increase in serum urea levels of subjects. It was observed that none of the subjects fed on Moringa oleifera leaf powder had serum albumin level that was below the lower limit of the accepted range (38.0 - 51.0 g/1) both at the baseline study and throughout the study period. Anthropometric results obtained showed that Moringa fed subjects obtained better weight gain than the F-100 fed subjects. Thus Moringa leaf powder has the potential to contribute significantly to the management of malnutrition in children between the ages of 6-36 months.
A thesis presented to the Department of Biochemistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Master of Science degree in Food Science and Technology