Effect of consumption of micronutrient fortified candies on the iron and vitamin A status of children aged 3-6 years in rural Haryana
To assess the efficacy of micronutrient fortified sugar candies in improving the iron and vitamin A status in children aged 3 to 6 years. Triple blind randomized controlled trial. Anganwadis and preparatory schools in rural Haryana. 410 children were randomized in four groups. One group received full dose candy (vitamin A 1000 IU and 14 mg elemental iron) daily, the second group received full dose candy for 3 days a week, the third group received half dose candy (vitamin A 500 IU and 7 mg
... 0 IU and 7 mg elemental iron) daily and the fourth received placebo. The candies were provided to children under supervision of field workers. Hemoglobin, S. ferritin, S. retinol and S. retinol binding protein levels were estimated at baseline and after 13 weeks of intervention. The increase in hemoglobin was least in the placebo group (0.3 g/dL) as compared to the two full dose groups (1.15-1.18 g/dL, P < 0.001). Among anemic children, the increase in hemoglobin was about 2 g/dL in the full dose group and 0.7 g/dL in the placebo group (P < 0.001). S. ferritin levels increased significantly only in the full dose daily group (p < 0.05). The prevalence of anemia decreased from around 50% at baseline to 9.6% in the full dose daily group (p < 0.01). Based on the S. retinol levels, the study area was not vitamin A deficient and the intervention did not result in a significant improvement in the vitamin A status of the children. Micronutrient fortified candies were effective in improving the hemoglobin level and decreasing anemia prevalence. It could serve as a suitable vehicle for micronutrient supplementation in children and other target groups.