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J Nutr. 2003 Jun;133(6):1834-40.

A multinutrient-fortified beverage enhances the nutritional status of children in Botswana.

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  • 1U.S. Department of Agriculture/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.


Due to their widespread acceptability, multinutrient-fortified foods and beverages may be useful in reducing micronutrient deficiencies, especially in developing countries. We studied the efficacy of a new fortified beverage in improving the nutritional status of children in Botswana. We screened 311 lower income urban school children, ages 6-11 y, in two primary schools near Gaborone. Children were given seven 240-mL servings weekly of either an experimental beverage (EXP) fortified with 12 micronutrients or an isoenergetic placebo drink (CON) for 8 wk. Weight, mid-upper arm circumference, hemoglobin, retinol, ferritin, vitamin B-12, folate and riboflavin status were measured at baseline and at the end of the study. Plasma zinc and serum transferrin receptors also were measured at study end. A total of 145 children in the EXP group and 118 in the CON group completed the trial. Using multivariate analysis, the changes in mid-upper arm circumference, weight for age and total weight were significantly better in the EXP group than in the CON group (P < 0.01). Ferritin, riboflavin and folate status were significantly better in the EXP group than in the CON group at study end (P < 0.01), but serum vitamin B-12 was not. Zinc was significantly higher and transferrin receptors were significantly lower at the conclusion of the study in the EXP group than in the CON group (P < 0.001). Mean plasma retinol concentrations, which were low (<0.7 micro mol/L) in both groups, did not change. We conclude that a micronutrient-fortified beverage may be beneficial as part of a comprehensive nutritional supplementation program in populations at risk for micronutrient deficiencies.

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