Daily use of Sprinkles micronutrient powder for 2 months reduces anemia among children 6 to 36 months of age in the Kyrgyz Republic: a cluster-randomized trial

Elizabeth Lundeen, Tobias Schueth, Nurjan Toktobaev, Stanley Zlotkin, S M Ziauddin Hyder, Robert Houser
Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2010, 31 (3): 446-60

BACKGROUND: Iron-deficiency anemia is widespread among young children in the Kyrgyz Republic, and there is an urgent need to identify an effective intervention to address this significant public health problem.

OBJECTIVE: To test the effectiveness of a 2-month intervention with daily home fortification of complementary food using micronutrient powder (Sprinkles) in reducing anemia among children 6 to 36 months of age in the Kyrgyz Republic.

METHODS: In this cluster-randomized, community-based effectiveness trial conducted in three regions of the Kyrgyz Republic, 24 clusters of children aged 6 to 36 months were randomly assigned to two groups. The intervention group (12 clusters, n = 1,103) received 60 sachets of micronutrient powder (12.5 mg elemental iron), which were taken as one sachet daily for 2 months. The control group (12 clusters, n = 1,090) did not receive micronutrient powder until after the study period. Blood hemoglobin concentration was assessed at the start and end of the intervention.

RESULTS: From baseline to follow-up, the mean hemoglobin concentration in the intervention group increased by 7 g/L, whereas it decreased by 2 g/L in the control group (p < .001). The prevalence of anemia (hemoglobin < 110 g/L) in the intervention group decreased from 72% at baseline to 52% at follow-up, whereas it increased from 72% to 75% in the control group (p < .001). Compliance with the intervention was high, with children consuming on average 45 of the 60 sachets given.

CONCLUSIONS: A course of 60 Sprinkles micronutrient powder sachets taken daily for 2 months is effective in improving hemoglobin levels and reducing the prevalence of anemia among young children in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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