Education and improved iron intakes for treatment of mild iron-deficiency anemia in adolescent girls in southern Benin.Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Mar; 30(1):24-36.FN
To our knowledge, the impact of a nutrition education program combined with an increase in bioavailable dietary iron to treat iron-deficiency anemia has never been studied in adolescent girls.
To evaluate the impact of an intensive dietary program for the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia in 34 intervention and 34 control boarding-school girls aged 12 to 17 years from Benin.
A quasi-experimental design consisting of 4 weeks of nutrition education combined with an increase in the content and bioavailability of dietary iron for 22 weeks was implemented in the intervention school, but not in the control school. Data were obtained from both groups from a nutrition knowledge questionnaire, 24-hour dietary recalls, anthropometric measurements, measurement of iron status indices, and screening for malarial and intestinal parasitic infections.
Nutrition knowledge scores and mean intakes of nutrients, including dietary iron, absorbable iron, and vitamin C, were significantly higher in the intervention group (p < .05) than in the control group after 26 weeks. Mean hemoglobin and serum ferritin values were also significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group (122 vs. 112 g/L [p = .0002] and 32 vs. 19 microg/L [p = .04], respectively), whereas the prevalence of anemia (32% vs. 85% [p = .005] and iron-deficiency anemia (26% vs. 56% [p = .04]) was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group. No significant differences between the groups were observed in intestinal parasitic infections or malaria status postintervention.
A multidietary strategy aiming to improve available dietary iron can reduce iron-deficiency anemia in adolescent girls.