Short-Term Evaluation of the Impact of a Fortified Food Aid Program on the Micronutrient Nutritional Status of Argentinian Pregnant Women
We studied the impact of a food supplementation program (Plan Más Vida (PMV)) on the micronutrient nutritional condition of pregnant women from low-income families 1 year after its implementation. The food program provided supplementary diet (wheat and maize—fortified flour, rice or sugar, and fortified soup). We performed a prospective, nonexperimental, cross-sectional study in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, evaluating pregnant women at baseline (n = 164) and 1 year after PMV implementation (n = 108). Biochemical tests (hemogram, ferritin, vitamin A, zinc, and folic acid), anthropometric assessments (weight and height), and dietary surveys (24 h recall) were performed at the two study points. One year after PMV implementation, no significant changes in anthropometric values were observed. Folic acid deficiency and the risk of vitamin A deficiency (retinol, 20–30 μg/dl) decreased significantly (35.8 to 6.1 % and 64 to 41 %, respectively; p < 0.000). Anemia and prevalence of iron and zinc deficiency values did not change. Diet survey results showed that although nutrient intake increased significantly, it was still below recommendations. Implementation of the PMV and of the government nutritional strategies had a high impact on the prevalence of folic acid deficiency. We also observed a decrease in the risk of vitamin A deficiency, and no impact on iron and zinc nutritional status. Adherence to the specific fortified food (soup) was not good and intra-family dilution and distribution of food was high.