Acceptability of micronutrient sprinkles: a new food-based approach for delivering iron to First Nations and Inuit children in Northern Canada

Anna Christofides, Claudia Schauer, Waseem Sharieff, Stanely H Zlotkin
Chronic Diseases in Canada 2005, 26 (4): 114-20
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a significant public health problem among Canadian Aboriginal children. The objectives of this study were to determine the acceptability and safety of microencapsulated-iron sprinkles, a new powdered form of iron packaged in a single-serving sachet for prevention of IDA. A total of 102 non-anemic children aged 4 to 18 months from three communities were randomized to receive sprinkles containing 30 mg Fe/day (NR = 49) or placebo (NR = 53) for six months. To assess acceptability, adherence and side effects were monitored bi-weekly. To assess safety, serum ferritin (SF) concentration and anthropometry were measured at baseline and end. Mean adherence was 59.6 +/- 27.7 percent. There were no differences in adherence, SF, anthropometric status or side effects between groups. Although there were no differences in hemoglobin (Hb) concentration and anemia prevalence from baseline to end and between groups, the Hb curve shifted to the right (increased) for the sprinkles group and to the left (decreased) for the placebo group. Sprinkles may provide a safe and acceptable option to the current standard of care (i.e. ferrous sulphate drops) for the provision of iron in Canadian Aboriginal populations.

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