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Lancet. 1990 Dec 1;336(8727):1342-5.

Effect of massive dose vitamin A on morbidity and mortality in Indian children.

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National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.


The effect of vitamin A supplementation on preschool child morbidity and mortality was assessed in a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled study around Hyderabad, India. Every six months 200,000 IU vitamin A was given to 7691 children (treatment group) whereas 8084 children received a placebo (control group). Morbidity and mortality data were collected every three months. Risk of respiratory infection was higher in children with mild xerophthalmia than in children with normal eyes. Vitamin A supplementation had no effect on morbidity status. Mortality rates were similar in the two groups; it was highest in children who did not receive either vitamin A or placebo. The findings suggest that vitamin A supplementation alone may not reduce child mortality.

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