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Pediatrics. 2009 Apr;123(4):e685-92. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-3007.

Effects of maternal multimicronutrient supplementation on the mental development of infants in rural western China: follow-up evaluation of a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.

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Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, 76 Yanta West Rd, Xi'an 710061, China.



We investigated the benefits of maternal multimicronutrient supplementation during gestation on the mental and psychomotor development of infants.


In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, pregnant women (N = 5828) in 2 rural counties in western China were assigned randomly to receive multimicronutrient (5 minerals and 10 vitamins at levels approximating the recommended daily allowance), folic acid plus iron, or folic acid supplementation daily from approximately 14 weeks of gestation until delivery. We assessed a subset of the newborns (N = 1305) from the 3 supplementation groups by measuring their mental and psychomotor development with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, at 3, 6, and 12 months of age. Multilevel analyses were used to compare the mental development and psychomotor development raw scores at 3, 6, and 12 months.


Multimicronutrient supplementation was associated with mean increases in mental development raw scores for infants at 1 year of age of 1.00 and 1.22 points, compared with folic acid only and folic acid plus iron supplementation, respectively. However, supplementation did not increase significantly the psychomotor development raw scores up to 1 year of age.


Compared with iron and folic acid supplementation, the administration of multimicronutrients to pregnant women improved the mental development of their children at 1 year of age.

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