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Study — led by Dr S. Anitha, senior scientist, nutrition, at ICRISAT — is a review and analysis of 8 previously published studies. It was published in the journal ‘Nutrients’ this month.
New Delhi: Taller, healthier and stronger — millets can boost growth in children and adolescents by 26 to 39 per cent when they replace rice in standard meals, an India-led study has found.
The study — led by Dr S. Anitha, senior scientist, nutrition, at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Patancheru, near Hyderabad — is a review and analysis of eight previously published studies, all of them conducted in India.
It was published in the journal Nutrients earlier this month.
The participants of the studies analysed included infants as well as pre-school and school-going children and adolescents. The children consumed millets — high in nutrients and protein — for a time period ranging from three months to four-and-a-half years.
Five of those studies used finger millet (ragi), one used sorghum (jowar) and two used a misxture of millets — notably finger, pearl (bajra), foxtail (kangni), little (kutki) and kodo (varagu) millets. Each of the studies had an average sample size of 65.
Among the children fed with a millet-based diet, a relative increase of 28.2 per cent in mean height and 26 per cent in weight was observed, when compared to children on regular rice-based diets, the review found. Similarly, a 39 per cent increase in the mid-upper arm circumference and 37 per cent increase in the chest circumference was also found among children with millet-based diets against the rice-based one.
Furthermore, the study found that millets-based diets help in managing type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, tackle obesity as well as anaemia.