, Volume 71, Issue 11, pp 1015-1019

Controlling iron deficiency anemia through the use of home-fortified complementary foods

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Abstract

Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is more common in South Asian countries including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan than anywhere else in the world. During infancy and early childhood, IDA is associated with impaired psycho-motor development and cognitive function that may be irreversible. As a consequence, there is a growing awareness that IDA is one of many factors impeding socio-economic prosperity of developing nations. The combination of unacceptably high prevalence rates and inadequate preventative programs highlights the need for new effective sustainable strategies to control IDA. The burden of iron deficiency can be reduced by taking a more holistic approach that would include promotion of healthy weaning practices and use of appropriate complementary foods, together with improving the nutritional value of such foods. There is an increasing body of peer-reviewed literature to support the contention that “micronutrient Sprinkles” is an effective strategy to improve the nutritional value of home-prepared complementary foods and thus to reduce the burden of iron deficiency among children. By combining data from recently conducted randomised control trials, Sprinkles were shown to be as efficacious as iron drops for treating childhood anemia. The iron in Sprinkles is well absorbed, and Sprinkles are easy to use and well accepted by young children and their caregivers. Integrated into existing public health programs, Sprinkles has the potential to improve the effectiveness of such programs.