Background: Micronutrient deficiencies are common during infancy, and optimal approaches for their prevention need to be identified.
Objective: The objective was to compare the efficacy and acceptability of Sprinkles (SP), crushable Nutritabs (NT), and fat-based Nutributter (NB; 108 kcal/d), which provide 6, 16, and 19 vitamins and minerals, respectively, when used for home fortification of complementary foods.
Design: Ghanaian infants were randomly assigned to receive SP (n = 105), NT (n = 105), or NB (n = 103) daily from 6 to 12 mo of age. We assessed dietary intake, morbidity, and compliance weekly. Hemoglobin and plasma ferritin, TfR, C-reactive protein, and zinc were measured at 6 and 12 mo. We used an exit interview to assess acceptability. A randomly selected control group of infants who received no intervention (NI; n = 96) were assessed at 12 mo.
Results: All supplements were well accepted, and the mean percentage of days that supplements were consumed (87%) did not differ between groups. At 12 mo, all 3 intervention groups had significantly higher ferritin and lower TfR concentrations than did the NI control group. Mean (+/- SD) hemoglobin was significantly higher in NT (112 +/- 14 g/L) and NB (114 +/- 14 g/L) but not in SP (110 +/- 14 g/L) infants than in NI infants (106 +/- 14 g/L). The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia was 31% in the NI control group compared with 10% in the intervention groups combined (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: All 3 options for home fortification of complementary foods are effective for reducing the prevalence of iron deficiency in such populations.