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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 113, 53-9

Impact of Vitamin A Supplementation to Rural Children on Morbidity Due to Diarrhoea

  • PMID: 21901907
Randomized Controlled Trial

Impact of Vitamin A Supplementation to Rural Children on Morbidity Due to Diarrhoea

B K Sircar et al. Indian J Med Res.


Background and objectives: a number of studies have shown the association between vitamin A deficiency and the increased risk of diarrhoeal and other childhood morbidities and mortality. However, some studies have raised controversies regarding the reduction of the incidence of diarrhoea after vitamin A supplementation to children. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation to young rural children in reducing the incidence of diarrhoea.

Methods: a double-blind randomized intervention trial was carried out amongst 404 rural children between 6-59 months of age to assess the impact of vitamin A supplementation on morbidity due to diarrhoea. Children aged 6-59 months were enrolled and allocated to receive either 200,000 or 50,000 IU of vitamin A and the same dose was repeated after six months. Morbidity due to diarrhoea was observed by twice-a-week household surveillance, during the subsequent one year of follow up. The incidence of diarrhoea was compared between the two supplemented groups. In addition, the overall incidence of diarrhoea n the two supplemented groups was also compared with the incidence observed during the year preceding supplementation.

Results: the incidence of diarrhoea was similar in the two supplemented groups (Incidence Rate Ratio = 1.05. 95% C. I. 0.79-1.40). However, the overall incidence of diarrhoea among all the children in the two supplemented groups (0.56 episodes/child/year) was significantly lower than the incidence before supplementation (1.15 episodes/child/year). The Incidence Rate Ratio was 0.49 with 95% C.I 0.40-0.59.

Interpretation and conclusions: the results of this study indicate that vitamin A supplementation in a dose of 200,000 IU, has no additional advantage over 50,000 IU, at least when the aim is to reduce the incidence of diarrhoea. For control of morbidity due to diarrhoea, vitamin A supplementation in a dose of 50,000 IU every six months appears to be adequate, cost effective and suitable for younger children.

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