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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Apr;56(4):338-46.

Randomised double-blind trial of the effect of vitamin A supplementation of Indonesian pregnant women on morbidity and growth of their infants during the first year of life.

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Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen University, Wageningen. The Netherlands.



To investigate whether supplementation with vitamin A together with iron of Indonesian pregnant women decreases morbidity and improves growth of their infants during the first year of life.


Women from a rural area in West Java, Indonesia, were randomly assigned on an individual basis to double-blind supplementation once weekly from approximately 18 weeks of pregnancy until delivery. Supplementation comprised 120 mg iron and 500 microg folic acid with or without 4800 RE vitamin A. Their newborn infants were followed up during the first year of life: weight, length, morbidity and food intake were assessed monthly.


Infants whose mothers had taken vitamin A supplements during pregnancy had similar weight, length, weight gain and growth as their counterparts during the follow-up period. The proportions of infants with reported symptoms of morbidity were similar in the vitamin A plus iron group and the iron group. In addition immunisation coverage and feeding mode did not differ between the groups. All infants were breast-fed, but exclusive breast-feeding rapidly declined at 4 months of age. Infants with serum retinol concentrations >0.70 micromol/l increased their weight and length more during the first 6 months of life and had higher weight-for-age Z-scores during the first year of life than infants with serum retinol concentrations <or=0.70 micromol/l. Serum retinol concentrations were not associated with morbidity.


In this study, vitamin A supplementation in conjunction with iron supplementation of pregnant women did not improve growth or reduce morbidity of their infants during the first year of life.

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