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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2014 Jan;239(1):45-51. doi: 10.1177/1535370213510661.

Quantification of food and nutrient intakes in Zambian children with and without malaria under controlled feeding conditions.

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Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Vitamin A supplementation improves status, which may protect against malarial infection. Provitamin A carotenoid biofortified staple crops may provide a more sustainable approach to alleviate vitamin A deficiency than supplementation, but the impact of febrile illness on food intake must be considered in malaria endemic regions. Morbidity data and food logs from a three-month efficacy trial on provitamin A biofortified (orange) maize in preschool Zambian children (n = 181, age 3-5 years) were systematically analyzed over time to determine the impact of malaria on food intake. Nutrients examined included macronutrients, iron, zinc, and vitamin A. Comparisons based on individual intakes in healthy and malarial states over three-day intervals were made including children from both the orange and white maize groups (n = 100). Malaria prevalence did not differ overall or between treatment groups over time (all P > 0.05). Lower nutrient intakes were observed for all variables during malaria outbreaks (food 289 ± 412 g; energy 248 ± 346 kcal; carbohydrate 42 ± 62 g; protein 8 ± 12 g; fat 5 ± 7 g; iron 1 ± 2 mg; zinc 1 ± 1 mg; vitamin A 58 ± 100 retinol activity equivalents; all P < 0.05). No differences were observed between nutrient decreases in orange and white maize groups (P > 0.05). Considering the impact of malaria on food and nutrient intakes and increased vitamin A utilization and excretion due to the acute phase response, biofortification targets for provitamin A carotenoids may need to be elevated in malaria endemic regions.


Biofortification; carotenoids; maize; malaria; vitamin A

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