Multi-micronutrient-fortified biscuits decreased prevalence of anemia and improved micronutrient status and effectiveness of deworming in rural Vietnamese school children.J Nutr 2009; 139(5):1013-21JN
Concurrent micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent among Vietnamese school children. A school-based program providing food fortified with multiple micronutrients could be a cost-effective and sustainable strategy to improve health and cognitive function of school children. However, the efficacy of such an intervention may be compromised by the high prevalence of parasitic infestation. To evaluate the efficacy of school-based intervention using multi-micronutrient-fortified biscuits with or without deworming on anemia and micronutrient status in Vietnamese schoolchildren, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 510 primary schoolchildren, aged 6-8 y, in rural Vietnam. Albendazole (Alb) (400 mg) or placebo was given at baseline. Nonfortified or multi-micronutrient-fortified biscuits including iron (6 mg), zinc (5.6 mg), iodine (35 microg), and vitamin A (300 microg retinol equivalents) were given 5 d/wk for 4 mo. Multi-micronutrient fortification significantly improved the concentrations of hemoglobin (+1.87 g/L; 95% CI: 0.78, 2.96), plasma ferritin (+7.5 microg/L; 95% CI: 2.8, 12.6), body iron (+0.56 mg/kg body weight; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.84), plasma zinc (+0.61 micromol/L; 95% CI: 0.26, 0.95), plasma retinol (+0.041 micromol/L; 95% CI: 0.001, 0.08), and urinary iodine (+22.49 micromol/L; 95% CI: 7.68, 37.31). Fortification reduced the risk of anemia and deficiencies of zinc and iodine by >40%. Parasitic infestation did not affect fortification efficacy, whereas fortification significantly enhanced deworming efficacy, with the lowest reinfection rates in children receiving both micronutrients and Alb. Multi-micronutrient fortification of biscuits is an effective strategy to improve the micronutrient status of Vietnamese schoolchildren and enhances effectiveness of deworming.