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Type Journal Article - Nutrients
Title Impact of multi-micronutrient fortified rice on hemoglobin, iron and vitamin a status of Cambodian schoolchildren: a double-blind cluster-randomized controlled trial
Volume 8
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 29
URL http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/1/29/htm
In Cambodia, micronutrient deficiencies remain a critical public health problem. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of multi-micronutrient fortified rice (MMFR) formulations, distributed through a World Food Program school-meals program (WFP-SMP), on the hemoglobin concentrations and iron and vitamin A (VA) status of Cambodian schoolchildren. The FORISCA-UltraRice+NutriRice study was a double-blind, cluster-randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Sixteen schools participating in WFP-SMP were randomly assigned to receive extrusion-fortified rice (UltraRice Original, UltraRice New (URN), or NutriRice) or unfortified rice (placebo) six days a week for six months. Four additional schools not participating in WFP-SMP were randomly selected as controls. A total of 2440 schoolchildren (6–16 years old) participated in the biochemical study. Hemoglobin, iron status, estimated using inflammation-adjusted ferritin and transferrin receptors concentrations, and VA status, assessed using inflammation-adjusted retinol-binding protein concentration, were measured at the baseline, as well as at three and six months. Baseline prevalence of anemia, depleted iron stores, tissue iron deficiency, marginal VA status and VA deficiency were 15.6%, 1.4%, 51.0%, 7.9%, and 0.7%, respectively. The strongest risk factors for anemia were hemoglobinopathy, VA deficiency, and depleted iron stores (all p < 0.01). After six months, children receiving NutriRice and URN had 4 and 5 times less risk of low VA status, respectively, in comparison to the placebo group. Hemoglobin significantly increased (+0.8 g/L) after three months for the URN group in comparison to the placebo group; however, this difference was no longer significant after six months, except for children without inflammation. MMFR containing VA effectively improved the VA status of schoolchildren. The impact on hemoglobin and iron status was limited, partly by sub-clinical inflammation. MMFR combined with non-nutritional approaches addressing anemia and inflammation should be further investigated.

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