A traditional diet as part of oral rehydration therapy in severe acute diarrhoea in young children

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Recently, the role of feeding as treatment of acute diarrhoea has received increasing attention. To assess the efficacy of early feeding in acute diarrhoea, we conducted a randomised, clinical trial of a traditional legume-based weaning diet khitchri in boys 9 to 48 months old with moderate to severe dehydration. Khitchri is composed of rice and lentils cooked with cottonseed oil. Children were randomly allocated to 2 groups: group A received only WHO ORS but no food for the first 24 hours and then khitchri and half-strength cow's milk formula freely; group B received khitchri and the half-strength formula in addition to ORS after the initial rehydration period of 4 to 6 hours. The mean period of evaluation was 3 days. 69 patients were admitted into the study, 33 in group A and 36 in group B. The initial mean purging rate for the children was greater than 200 g/kg/day. Six children did not complete the study because they developed intercurrent infections or were removed by their parents for non-medical reasons. Of the 63 patients who were evaluated, 44 (70%) were successfully treated, 21 in group A and 23 in group B. There were no significant differences in the 2 groups in mean stool output, number of stools, or weight gain, although a trend toward earlier improvement was seen in group B. These data indicate that early feeding of khitchri and WHO/ORS may be as well tolerated as WHO/ORS alone in the first 24 hours treatment of severe acute diarrhoea in young children.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Diarrhoeal Diseases Research