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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

Professor calls for more research on child nutrition

Observer Reporter
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

SUSAN Walker, professor of Nutrition at the Tropical Metabolism Research Institute (TMRI) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), has called for further research into clinical malnutrition and chronic under-nutrition in children.

Professor Walker, who was speaking at a regional workshop on child nutrition, last Wednesday at the Planning Institute of Jamaica's (PIOJ's) New Kingston offices, said that the research should include "investigation of specific nutrients aimed at ensuring that malnourished children gain sufficient lean body mass during recovery or to promote catch up growth in stunted children".

She noted that the TMRI, through its Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, the Sickle Cell Unit and the Epidemiology Research Unit on the Mona campus and a fourth unit based at Cave Hill, Barbados, had been focusing research on under-nutrition.

"Seminal research conducted at the TMRI on the metabolism of malnourished children led to marked improvements in the treatment of malnourished children," Walker said.

She noted that the programme for the management of severely malnourished children developed by the TMRI, had become the internationally accepted best practice and formed the basis for the World Health Organisation (WHO) manual on the treatment and management of severe malnutrition.

The work included investigation of protein and nitrogen metabolism as well as understanding of the energy metabolism of the recovering malnourished child and the tremendous energy requirements during the period of rapid weight-gain.

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