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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17(2):264-9.

Effect of iron fortification of nursery complementary food on iron status of infants in the DPRKorea.

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Institute of Child Nutrition, Academy of Medical Sciences Saesalim dong, Tongdaewon District, Pyongyang, DPR Korea.


The aim of this study was to determine the iron status of infants who consumed porridge cooked in water with added ferrous sulphate. A total of 234 infants, aged 6-12 months, were recruited from 36 nurseries in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK North Korea) and randomly divided into iron (Fe) and placebo groups. At baseline, almost half the children had Hb<110 g/L and no significant differences between the two groups were found with regard to hemoglobin concentration and anemia prevalence. The Fe group received rice porridge fortified with 10 mg of iron (as ferrous sulfate) per day, added to the water in which the rice was cooked and the placebo group non-fortified cereal for 6 months. After which, the hemoglobin (Hb), serum ferritin (SF) and packed cell volume (PCV) were measured and it was found that the proportion of children with anemia (Hb<110 g/L) was lower (24.3% v 48.1% p<0.01), the Hb levels (117.6 g/L v 109.8 g/L p<0.001) and serum ferritin were higher (40.7 v 26.8 mcg/L p<0.001); and iron deficiency anemia (Hb<110 g/L, SF<12 mcg/L) was lower in the Fe group (3% v 22% p<0.001) when compared to the placebo group. Ferrous sulphate, added to the water in which rice was cooked, lowered the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia of infants in the DPRK with no adverse reactions. This simple fortification would be suitable as a nationwide program in the DPRK and other countries with large infant nurseries.

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