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Public Health Nutr. 2010 Mar;13(3):418-23. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009991224. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Leaf concentrate as an alternative to iron and folic acid supplements for anaemic adolescent girls: a randomised controlled trial in India.

Author information

  • 1Department of Foods and Nutrition, International College for Girls, Jaipur, India.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Despite public health campaigns based on Fe and folic acid supplements, Fe-deficiency anaemia remains highly prevalent among women in India. We investigated leaf concentrate as an alternative to Fe and folic acid supplements for treating anaemia in adolescent girls.

DESIGN:

Randomised controlled two-arm trial over 3 months: one group received daily Fe and folic acid (IFA; 60 mg Fe, 500 microg folic acid); the other daily leaf concentrate (LC; 5 mg Fe, 13 microg folic acid). Hb concentration, mean cell volume, serum Fe, serum ferritin and total Fe-binding capacity were measured pre- and post-intervention.

SETTING:

Jaipur, India.

SUBJECTS:

One hundred and two adolescent girls aged 14-18 years.

RESULTS:

Of the 102 girls randomized to the two arms of the trial, four (3.9 %) were severely anaemic (Hb < 7 g/dl), twenty-eight (27.5 %) were moderately anaemic (Hb > or = 7 g/dl, <10 g/dl) and seventy (68.6 %) were mildly anaemic (Hb > or = 10 g/dl, <12 g/dl). In the IFA group, eleven girls (20.4 %) withdrew due to side-effects, compared with one girl (2.1 %) in the LC group (P = 0.005). Total losses to follow-up were 14/54 in the IFA group and 2/48 in the LC group. At the end of the trial, none of the eighty-six remaining girls were severely anaemic, nine (10.5 %) were moderately anaemic and twenty-six (30.2 %) were mildly anaemic; fifty-one (59.3 %) had normal Hb levels (> or = 12 g/dl). After adjustment for baseline values, LC was as effective as IFA in improving serum Fe parameters and treating anaemia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Leaf concentrate is an effective, and more palatable, alternative to Fe and folic acid supplements for treating anaemia in adolescent girls.

PMID:
19706212
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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