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J Nutr. 2001 Nov;131(11):2874-9.

Multivitamin-multimineral and iron supplementation did not improve appetite of young stunted and anemic Beninese children.

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Département de Nutrition et Sciences Alimentaires, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques, Université Nationale du Bénin, BP 526 Cotonou, République du Bénin.


In developing countries, low food intake is often reported in children < 5 y old. Reduced appetite may be a contributing factor. We investigated whether a combination of a multivitamin-multimineral supplement and additional iron treatment improved appetite and growth of 18- to 30-mo-old stunted and anemic Beninese children. The study was placebo-controlled using VITALIA tablets (11 vitamins and 10 minerals) and ferrous fumarate tablets (66 mg of iron). One hundred fifty stunted (height-for-age Z score < -2) and anemic children (hemoglobin < 110 g/L) were randomly assigned to one of four groups: group 1, multivitamin-multimineral plus iron; group 2, multivitamin-multimineral plus placebo; group 3, placebo plus placebo; and group 4, placebo plus iron. Supplementation was daily and supervised for 6 wk. Appetite, knee-heel length, dietary intakes and morbidity were assessed before and after supplementation. Length, weight, arm circumference and hemoglobin concentration were assessed before, just after supplementation and 4 mo after the intervention. Appetite was assessed by means of an appetite test using a test food, riz-au-gras, eaten ad libitum after an overnight fast. Dietary intakes were assessed during three consecutive days in a subsample by means of the observed weighed record method. Energy intake from the habitual breakfast was significantly correlated with that from the test food (r = 0.49, n = 38, P = 0.002). There were no differences among groups in changes in appetite and growth performance. The habitual diet of the children was monotonous and contained only small amounts of animal products. The morbidity status of the children was comparable in all study groups, before as well as after supplementation. We conclude that the 6-wk multivitamin-multimineral supplementation with additional iron treatment failed to improve the appetite and growth of the children.

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