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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jul;62(1):143-8.

Mortality of infants < 6 mo of age supplemented with vitamin A: a randomized, double-masked trial in Nepal.

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Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The effect of supplementing 11,918 infants < 1 mo and 1-5 mo of age with vitamin A (15,000 and 30,000 micrograms retinol equivalents or 50,000 and 100,000 IU, respectively) or a placebo on subsequent 4-mo mortality was assessed in a randomized, double-masked community trial in the rural plains of Nepal. There were 130 deaths (51.6/1000 child-y) in the control group and 150 deaths (57.1/1000 child-y) in the vitamin A group, yielding a relative risk of 1.11 (95% CI: 0.86, 1.42), which is indicative of no overall effect on early infant mortality. There was a tendency for the relative risk of mortality among vitamin A recipients to rise with improved nutritional status. These results suggest that distribution of a large oral dose of vitamin A to infants < 5-6 mo of age may not benefit short-term survival. This is in contrast with the results of trials in which older infants and children in this same population were supplemented.

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