Background: Micronutrient powders (MNP) can reduce iron deficiency and anemia in children.
Objective: We evaluated the impact of an integrated infant and young child feeding (IYCF)-MNP intervention on anemia and micronutrient status among children aged 12-23 mo in Eastern Uganda. The intervention focused on MNP distribution, IYCF education, and caregiver behavior change.
Methods: Population-based cross-sectional surveys representative of children aged 12-23 mo in Amuria (intervention) and Soroti (nonintervention) districts were collected in June/July 2015 at baseline (n = 1260) and 12 mo after implementation at endline in 2016 (n = 1490). From pooled capillary blood, we assessed hemoglobin, malaria, ferritin, retinol binding protein (RBP), C-reactive protein, and ɑ1-acid glycoprotein. Ferritin and RBP were regression-adjusted to correct for inflammation. Caregivers reported sociodemographic characteristics and MNP knowledge and practices. Linear regression estimated the difference-in-difference (DiD) effect of MNP on hemoglobin, ferritin, and RBP, and logistic regression estimated DiD effect of MNP on anemia (hemoglobin <11.0 g/dL), iron deficiency (ferritin <12.0 µg/L), iron deficiency anemia (hemoglobin <11.0 g/dL and ferritin <12.0 µg/L), and vitamin A deficiency (VAD; RBP equivalent to <0.70 µmol/L retinol: <0.79 µmol/L at baseline and RBP <0.67 µmol/L at endline).
Results: In Amuria, 96% of children had ever consumed MNP versus <1% of children in Soroti. Fifty-four percent of caregivers reported organoleptic changes when MNP were added to foods cooked with soda ash. Adjusting for age, sex, malaria, recent morbidity, and household-level factors, the intervention was associated with -0.83 g/dL lower hemoglobin (95% CI, -1.36, -0.30 g/dL; P = 0.003) but not with anemia, ferritin, iron deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, RBP, or VAD.
Conclusions: Despite high program fidelity, the intervention was associated with reduced hemoglobin concentrations but not with change in anemia or micronutrient status among children aged 12-23 mo in Eastern Uganda. Contextual factors, such as cooking with soda ash, might explain the lack of effectiveness.
Keywords: MNP; anemia; iron deficiency; micronutrient powders; vitamin A deficiency.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2020.