A Cross-Sectional Study of the Effects of Goat Milk on Malnourished Children in a Community-Based Program
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In May-July of 2013, a cross-sectional research project was undertaken in rural western Kenya on the Nyakach Plateau in the Nyanza Province examining the effects of goat milk consumption on long-term and short-term growth among a group of orphans. The goal of the project was to see the effects of a community-based goat milk distribution program without the intervention of a foreign presence. There were a total of 61 orphans in the sample, 47 of them not receiving milk and 14 of them receiving milk. The background information was ascertained from each of the subjects via interview, and then trained individuals took anthropometric measurements. Resulting figures showed no statistical difference in the growth indices between those who consumed goat milk and those who did not. However, within the sample who did receive goat milk, those receiving goat milk for a longer, more recent period of time displayed greater short-term growth than those who did not, as indicated by their mean BMI z-scores (-0.62 vs -1.70; p = 0.0085). Additionally, though not as strong, when this was stratified among those receiving more than a cup of milk, the mean BMI z-scores were (-0.64 vs -1.70; p = 0.0167). This relationship was strengthened when stratified across older children (>9 years old), the mean BMI scores being (-0.62 vs -1.70; p = 0.0067). Future research will follow up these subjects and document the long-term effects of goat milk supplementation.