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Rev Saude Publica. 2010 Apr;44(2):230-9.

Greater effectiveness of daily iron supplementation scheme in infants.

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Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, Brasil.



To assess the effectiveness of weekly and daily schemes of preventive supplementation with supplementary iron to prevent iron deficiency anemia in non-anemic infants.


A prospective population study with a quantitative approach and preventive intervention was performed in the city of Viçosa, Southeastern Brazil, in 2007-8. A total of 103 non-anemic children, aged between six and 18 months of age, were selected, corresponding to 20.2% of the children registered with and cared for by Equipes de Saúde da Família (Family Health Teams). Children were divided into two supplementation groups: daily dosage recommended by the Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria (Brazilian Society of Pediatrics) (group 1, n=34) and weekly dosage recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Health (group 2, n=69). Assessments were made in the beginning of the study and after six months, with hemoglobin dosage (portable ss-Hemoglobin-meter) and anthropometric and dietary assessments being performed and socioeconomic questionnaire applied. Impact indicators used were prevalence of anemia, hemoglobin variation, adherence to and side effects of supplements.


Groups were homogeneous in terms of socioeconomic, biological and before-intervention health variables. After six months of supplementation, higher means of hemoglobin were found in group 1 than in group 2 (11.66; SD=1.25 and 10.95; SD=1.41, respectively, p=0.015); in addition to lower prevalences of anemia (20.6% and 43.5%, respectively, p=0.04). Only 'supplementation time' influenced severe anemia (p=0.009). Statistically significant differences were not found for the 'adherence to supplementation' and 'side effects' variables.


The daily dosage recommended by the Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria was found to be more effective to prevent anemia in infants, when compared to the dosage used by the Ministry of Health. The weekly dosage recommended by the Brazilian government program needs to be reviewed to increase the effectiveness of prevention of anemia in infants cared for in public health services.

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