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Combined iron and zinc supplementation among school children in Galle District: a follow-up study

Authors:

M Hettiarachchi ,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, LK
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C Liyanage

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Galle, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Deficiencies of iron and zinc are major public health problems in many developing countries. Combined iron and zinc supplementation may beneficial, but the potential interactions observed in functional outcomes such as growth and development need to be verified.

Methods: Adolescent school children (n=821) of 12-18 years of age were randomized into one of four groups on a double-blind approach at class room level. Children in each group received two capsules daily containing either iron 50 mg/d (Group 1) or zinc 14 mg/d (Group 2) or iron and zinc combined (Group 3) or a placebo (Group 4) for a period of 36 weeks. Their anthropometric assessment was made and a medical examination carried out prior to study and after the intervention.

Results: Mean change of weight and height in the placebo group was 0.53kg and 0.73cm. Iron alone group had 0.89kg gain in weight and 1.0cm in height. Zinc alone group had a higher gain in weight (2.27 kg) and height (2.37cm) whereas 1.52 kg and 1.63 cm gain was observed with combine supplemented group. The body mass index (BMI) of the supplemented groups significantly increased from their respective baseline status (0.32 in supplemented, 0.04 in placebo; p < 0.001). The increase in z-scores of weight-for-age and height-for-age in zinc supplemented groups was marginally significant when compared with the placebo group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: After correcting for confounding effects of age and the respective baseline values of weight, height and BMI, the zinc alone supplemented group had the best anthropometric improvement. It appears therefore, that long term zinc supplementation has positive impact on the growth of children.

Key words: Iron supplementation; Zinc supplementation; Growth; School children

DOI: 10.4038/gmj.v15i1.2388

Galle Medical Journal Vol.15(1) 2010 pp.1-7

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/gmj.v15i1.2388
How to Cite: Hettiarachchi, M. & Liyanage, C., (2010). Combined iron and zinc supplementation among school children in Galle District: a follow-up study. Galle Medical Journal. 15(1), pp.1–7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/gmj.v15i1.2388
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Published on 12 Nov 2010.
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