New multi-nutrient supplement to fight anemia among children

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016,16:25 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | A new multi-nutrient supplement has been developed by Indian Council of Medical Research to deal with high prevalence of anemia among children in the country. In India, more than 70 per cent of the children are anemic even as government has been running programmes like iron and folic acid supplement distribution since past many decades.

The multi-nutrient mixture has been developed by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad to deal with high prevalence of anemia among children. It would soon be inducted into government’s supplementary nutrition programmes for children like the mid-day meal scheme, ICMR Director General Soumya Swaminathan said here today. We have already initiated talks with Women and Child Ministry as it is seriously looking at the issue of food fortification along with Health Ministry. So they might come up with some guidelines regarding fortification of the food items like wheat and rice. And this mix would be very useful as it can be added to it, she said.

Swaminathan said initial trials of the research have been completed and they have shown remarkable reduction in anemia levels among children. According to the research, the anemia prevalence among children come down to less than 10 per cent which was 48 per cent before conducting the study, a NIN official said. We have used seven micro-nutrients including two minerals iron and zinc and five vitamins like Vitamin A, B12, folic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.

We tried it on 400 Anganwadi children which are given supplementary food nutrition by mixing it with cooked meals, the official explained, adding that the intervention was for eight months. The study was initiated in 2012 and completed in 2014. We are now in the process of publishing the research, he said. The micro-nutrient deficiencies, besides adversely affecting overall growth and development also lead to cognitive impairment, reduced immunity and increased morbidity and mortality.