Efficacy of pandesal baked from wheat flour fortified with iron and vitamin a in improving the iron and anthropometric status of anemic schoolchildren in the Philippines

J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Oct;28(5):591-600. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2009.10719791.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of pandesal baked from wheat flour fortified with iron, with or without vitamin A (VA), in improving anemic schoolchildren's iron and anthropometric status.

Methods: Anemic 6- to 12-year-old Filipino children (n = 250) received two 60 g pandesal daily for 8 months. They were randomized into 1 of 4 groups: (1) iron-fortified (with hydrogen-reduced iron at 80 mg/kg, electrolytic iron at 80 mg/kg, or ferrous fumarate at 40 mg/kg), (2) iron and VA-fortified, (3) VA-fortified (at 490 RE/100 g), and (4) nonfortified flour. Hemoglobin (Hb) and zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP) concentrations and weight and height were determined before and after intervention. Analyses of variance and chi-square and multiple regression analyses were performed.

Results: Mean Hb increased by 1.3 g/dL (p < 0.001) and mean ZnPP decreased by 24.4 micromol/mol (p < 0.001) after 8 months. Anemia decreased to 26% and iron deficiency decreased from 58% to 12%. After controls were applied for baseline concentration, age, and gender, Hb concentration at post intervention was significantly higher in the Iron + VA group than in the nonfortified group (coefficient = 0.37; p = 0.034). The odds of being iron deficient at post intervention were significantly lower in the Iron group than in the nonfortified group after controls were applied for age, gender, and baseline prevalence (coefficient = 0.12; p = 0.006). None of the 3 fortified groups had significantly different weight-for-age z-score, body mass index-for-age z-score, or height-for-age z-score compared with the nonfortified group after controls were applied for baseline z-scores, age, and gender.

Conclusions: Our study shows that in a non-malaria-endemic area, iron fortification of flour significantly reduced the prevalence of iron deficiency among anemic schoolchildren, and double fortification with iron and VA significantly improved Hb status.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diet therapy*
  • Anthropometry
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Flour
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Philippines
  • Protoporphyrins / blood
  • Regression Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Protoporphyrins
  • Vitamin A
  • zinc protoporphyrin