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Portrait of Nutrition

Professor Kathryn Dewey is leading efforts to end child malnutrition.

Dewey, a nutrition professor, is working to end child malnutrition worldwide with the help of philanthropic support.

Dewey is the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary team of UC Davis and international researchers that has developed new peanut butter-like nutritional supplements that are rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and is studying the impact these multi-vitamin pastes are having on the growth, health and development of malnourished children in Africa.

The project, which is one of the most comprehensive international nutrition research projects ever conducted, is made possible because of a five-year, $16 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“I am honored and humbled to be leading this extraordinary team of international researchers and to have the support of the Gates Foundation,” Dewey said.

UC Davis researchers introduced an original version of the multi-vitamin paste, Nutributter, to children in Ghana from 2004–2006 with promising results. They discovered that when the supplement was used in daily doses of just a few teaspoons it reduced anemia and eliminated faltering growth in children ages 6-12 months and doubled the percentage of infants who were able to walk independently by age 1.

The international team Dewey leads is now working to identify the most nutritious and cost-effective formulas of the supplements for children under age 2 and for pregnant and lactating women, and the best methods for distributing the supplement.

“With just a small catsup-sized packet,” Dewey said, referring to the supplement, “we could potentially make a real difference to millions of children.”