News article

Effect of Home Food Fortification on Anaemia in Infants and Young Children

Posted:  Friday, September 02, 2016

Association between Home Food Fortification and Prevalence of Anaemia in Infants and Young Children

An infant and young child nutrition programme implemented by the Chinese government supports the in-home fortification of complementary foods with ying yang bao (YYB), a soybean-based micronutrient powder containing iron (5 mg as ferrous fumarate, 2.5 mg as iron-EDTA) and other micronutrients. A study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Bulletin investigated the effect of consumption of YYB on haemoglobin (Hb) levels and prevalence of anaemia in infants and young children, using a pre- and post-survey design.

Infants and young children aged 6–23 months were administered YYB. Blood samples were collected and Hb levels were measured. Each selected child’s caretaker was interviewed and information on general household, consumption of YYB and selected breast-feeding practices were documented using a questionnaire. Information on health status, weight and height were recorded.

Haemoglobin significantly increased from 10.8 g/dL (at baseline) to 11.3 g/dL, 11.6 g/dL, and 11.7 g/dL after 6, 12, and 18 months of YYB consumption, respectively. The prevalence of moderate anaemia (Hb levels 7 to 9.9 g/dL) decreased from 20.3% (at baseline) to 7.5%, 5.8% and 7.3%, while mild anaemia (Hb levels 10–11 g/dL) decreased from 29.0% (at baseline) to 16.7%, 18.1% and 15.4% after 6, 12, and 18 months of YYB consumption, respectively. For the first 6 months, YYB significantly improved Hb levels and subsequently helped in maintenance. The infant’s age, sachets consumed per infant per week, and the duration of YYB consumption positively correlated with Hb levels, while the duration of YYB consumption and sachets consumed per infant per week negatively correlated with anaemia.

The study results suggest that fortification of foods with YYB successfully reduces anaemia in children aged 6–23 months. Thus, it could be part of an improved infant and young children nutrition programme that promotes breastfeeding, frequent complementary foods and hygiene.

News source - Huo J, Sun J, Fang Z, et al. Effect of Home-Based Complementary Food Fortification on Prevalence of Anemia Among Infants and Young Children Aged 6 to 23 Months in Poor Rural Regions of China. Food Nutr Bull. 2015 Dec; 36(4):405-14.