This study evaluated the effects of a multi-micronutrient fortified juice drink given in different frequencies of consumption on hemoglobin (Hb) concentration of schoolchildren. Hb was measured in 2423 schoolchildren aged 6- to 9-years-old at baseline. All anemic children (n = 246) were randomly allocated into groups: Daily dose (HD: high dose), 5X/week (MD: Moderate Dose), 3X/week (LD: Low Dose) and unfortified (Control). Pre- and post-study measurements of micronutrients were collected from 228 children.
At the endpoint, significant Hb increases were observed in all groups, but there was no significant difference between groups. There was a significant reduction in anemia prevalence in all groups from 100% to 36% (Control), 30% (LD), 23% (MD) and 26% (HD). No dose-response effect was observed in Hb in this population. Most likely, this resulted from better than expected micronutrient status and lower than expected severity of anemia and micronutrient deficiencies in this cohort. It is unlikely that the addition of a fortified beverage to school feeding programs in this population would have a positive impact. Whether such an intervention would be cost-effective as a preventative approach needs to be assessed. This study demonstrates the importance of targeting such interventions to appropriate populations.