Efficacy of Iron-Fortified Rice in Reducing Anemia Among Schoolchildren in the Philippines

From the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (IAA and MVC), Philippines.
International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research (Impact Factor: 0.85). 04/2008; 78(2):74-86. DOI: 10.1024/0300-9831.78.2.74
Source: PubMed


Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in the Philippines is a serious public health problem. Fortifying rice offers a great opportunity to control IDA. However, information on other types of fortificants that can be used is scarce.
To compare the effects of two types of iron fortificants in rice in improving the hematological status of schoolchildren. Design: 180 randomly selected 6-to 9-year-old anemic children were randomly allocated to three groups in a double-blinded manner: One group received iron-enriched rice (IER) with extruded iron premix rice (IPR) using ferrous sulfate as fortificant (ExFeSO4); the second group received IER with extruded IPR using micronized dispersible ferric pyrophosphate (ExFeP80); and the third group received non-fortified rice (Control). These were administered daily for 5 days a week for 6 months. Blood samples were collected at baseline after 3 and 6 months.
At baseline, one child in the ExFeP80 group was suffering from IDA; at 3 months, no IDA was found in any groups; while at 6 months, one child in the ExFeP80 developed IDA. The baseline prevalence of anemia in all groups, which was 100%, was significantly reduced to 51%, 54%, and 63% in the ExFeSO4, ExFeP80 and Control groups respectively. After 6 months, further significant reductions were observed in the ExFeSO4 (38%) and ExFeP80 (33%) but remained at 63% in the Control group. Greater, significant increases were also observed in plasma ferritin in the fortified groups than in the Control group from baseline to 6 months. The predictors of change in hemoglobin (Hb) and plasma ferritin were group allocation and basal values.
The consumption of rice fortified with FeP80 using extrusion technology has similar effects as that of FeSO4 in reducing the prevalence of IDA among schoolchildren.

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