Maternal low-dose vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation has no effect on fetal loss and early infant mortality: a randomized cluster trial in Nepal.
ABSTRACT The effect of vitamin A supplementation on the survival of infants aged <6 mo is unclear. Because most infant deaths occur in the first few month of life, maternal supplementation may improve infant survival.
The objective was to assess the effect of maternal vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation on fetal loss and survival of infants <6 mo of age.
Married women of reproductive age in 270 wards of Sarlahi district, Nepal, were eligible to participate. Wards were randomly assigned to have women receive weekly doses of 7000 microg retinol equivalents as retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), 42 mg all-trans-beta-carotene, or placebo. Pregnancies were followed until miscarriage, stillbirth, maternal death, or live birth of one or more infants, who were followed through 24 wk of age.
A total of 43559 women were enrolled; 15832 contributed 17373 pregnancies and 15987 live born infants to the trial. The rate of fetal loss was 92.0/1000 pregnancies in the placebo group, comparable with rates in the vitamin A and beta-carotene groups, which had relative risks of 1.06 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.25) and 1.03 (95% CI: 0.87, 1.19), respectively. The 24-wk mortality rate was 70.8/1000 live births in the placebo group, comparable with rates in the vitamin A and beta-carotene groups, which had relative risks of 1.05 (95% CI: 0.87, 1.25) and 1.03 (95% CI: 0.86, 1.22), respectively.
Small weekly doses of vitamin A or beta-carotene given to women before conception, during pregnancy, and through 24 wk postpartum did not improve fetal or early infant survival in Nepal.
SourceAvailable from: John Pettifor
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ABSTRACT: Maternal and child malnutrition in low-income and middle-income countries encompasses both undernutrition and a growing problem with overweight and obesity. Low body-mass index, indicative of maternal undernutrition, has declined somewhat in the past two decades but continues to be prevalent in Asia and Africa. Prevalence of maternal overweight has had a steady increase since 1980 and exceeds that of underweight in all regions. Prevalence of stunting of linear growth of children younger than 5 years has decreased during the past two decades, but is higher in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere and globally affected at least 165 million children in 2011; wasting affected at least 52 million children. Deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc result in deaths; deficiencies of iodine and iron, together with stunting, can contribute to children not reaching their developmental potential. Maternal undernutrition contributes to fetal growth restriction, which increases the risk of neonatal deaths and, for survivors, of stunting by 2 years of age. Suboptimum breastfeeding results in an increased risk for mortality in the first 2 years of life. We estimate that undernutrition in the aggregate-including fetal growth restriction, stunting, wasting, and deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc along with suboptimum breastfeeding-is a cause of 3·1 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths in 2011. Maternal overweight and obesity result in increased maternal morbidity and infant mortality. Childhood overweight is becoming an increasingly important contributor to adult obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases. The high present and future disease burden caused by malnutrition in women of reproductive age, pregnancy, and children in the first 2 years of life should lead to interventions focused on these groups.The Lancet 06/2013; 382(9890). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60937-X
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ABSTRACT: Despite widespread nutritional deficiencies, investigations of usual diet in rural South Asia remain sparse. The present study characterizes year-round and seasonal dietary patterns of women in the Terai of Nepal by sociodemographic status, using a novel, weekly single-visit and usual food frequency questionnaire that links recall to the agricultural season. The study was conducted across seasons in 2006-2008 among 15,899 women of reproductive age in Sarlahi district. Intakes were tabulated for all foods, overall and by socioeconomic status (SES), and in and out of season, as appropriate. Foods consumed regularly [median (interquartile range) weekly frequency] were rice [13 (7-13)], potatoes [10 (5-13)], legumes [6 (2-9)], and vegetable oil [13 (13-13)]. Animal products were infrequently consumed [1 (0-2) time per week] as were fruits and vegetables, most with a median weekly intake frequency of 0. Higher SES was associated with more frequent consumption of most food-groups, including in-season fruits and vegetables. Diets of women in the Terai of Nepal lack diversity and, likely, nutrient adequacy, which may pose health risks.Journal of Health Population and Nutrition 06/2014; 32(2):198-216.