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Community-level micronutrient fortification of a food supplement in India: a controlled trial in preschool children aged 36-66 mo

Varma, Jessica L., Das, Soumita, Sankar, Rajan, Mannar, Marthi G. Venkatesh, Levinson, F. James, Hamer, Davidson H.
American journal of clinical nutrition 2007 v.85 no.4 pp. 1127-1133
community nutrition programs, food fortification, dietary supplements, clinical trials, preschool children, child nutrition, nutrient deficiencies, iron, nutrient reserves, nutrition assessment, India
BACKGROUND: Children participating in the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) in India have high rates of iron and vitamin A deficiency. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess the efficacy of a premix fortified with iron and vitamin A and added at the community level to prepared khichdi, a rice and dal mixture, in increasing iron and vitamin A stores and decreasing the prevalence of iron deficiency, anemia, and vitamin A deficiency. DESIGN: This cluster, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was initiated in 30 Anganwadi centers (daycare centers) in West Bengal state, India. Children aged 36-66 mo (n = 516) attending village-based ICDS centers were randomly assigned to receive either a fortified or a nonfortified premix for 24 wk. Blood was drawn at 0 and 24 wk by venipuncture for the measurement of hemoglobin, serum ferritin, and serum retinol. RESULTS: The change in the hemoglobin concentration of anemic children was significantly different between fortified and nonfortified khichdi groups (P < 0.001). Prevalence rates of anemia, iron deficiency, and iron deficiency anemia were significantly lower after 24 wk in the fortified-khichdi group than in the nonfortified-khichdi group (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in serum retinol concentrations or in the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency between the fortified- and nonfortified-khichdi groups. CONCLUSION: A premix fortified with iron, vitamin A, and folic acid and added to supplementary food at the community level can be effective at increasing iron stores and reducing the prevalence of iron deficiency and anemia.