The role of nutrition education in the promotion of iron-fortified soy sauce in China


Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is one of the most important nutrition issues in China. In 2002, the average anaemia prevalence in China was 20.1% and the prevalence in women of child-bearing age and of children in some poor regions reached more than 50%. 

Soy sauce, a widely used condiment, was developed as a carrier for food fortification in China to control and prevent iron deficiency and IDA. Based on the specific regulatory environment in China, it is necessary to develop a market-driven promotion approach for popularising iron-fortified soy sauce as opposed to a mandatory government regulation model that is often used in other countries.

The key to the success of this approach is to increase the awareness of the general consumer and change their behaviour in regard to iron-fortified soy sauce. The objective of this study was therefore to conduct nutrition education based on a market-driven approach guided by the government, in order to develop an effective and feasible model for the promotion of iron-fortified soy sauce in China in one pilot site in the city of Jinhua, Zhejiang Province.

In conclusion, this study has made some progress in using a nutrition education intervention as the major tool for the promotion of iron-fortified soy sauce. However, more studies should be conducted in different geographical areas in China with different ethnic groups, dietary habits, and education levels, in order to develop a comprehensive nutrition education model for the successful promotion of iron-fortified soy sauce in China.
 

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