Nutritionists report low-cost way to reduce global infant mortality | Source: Medical Express, March 28 2016 |
Eating a biscuit fortified with resistant starch every day could prove a low-cost way to reduce infant mortality rates from malnutrition and common diseases around the world.
The answer could lie in maximising the efficiency of babies’ and children’s digestive systems with this special type of dietary fibre, say Flinders University researchers.
The global gastrointestinal health project is investigating how bacteria in the large intestine affect the utilisation of food, and whether improving gut health might help babies and children to flourish on an impoverished diet and survive common diseases.
The chief investigator, leading Australian gastrointestinal expert Professor Graeme Young, says the latest project is focusing on whether young children have the gut bacteria required to produce small chain fatty acids from resistant starch.
“Its conversion in the gut, however, is determined by many factors and is very different from children in Australia because of the environment, type of birth and the microflora of the mother.”
Under a Flinders School of Medicine partnership with the University of Malawi, researchers are testing small stool samples taken from the nappies of very young infants in a remote village near the country’s Mozambique border.
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