To assess if preconception supplementation with multiple micronutrients (MM) or iron and folic acid (IFA) decreased the prevalence of stunting and improved linear growth through age 2 y compared to only folic acid (FA)
We examined linear growth during the first 2 years of life among 1550 offspring born to women who participated in a randomized controlled trial of preconception micronutrient supplementation in Vietnam (PRECONCEPT). A total of 5011 women of reproductive age received weekly supplements containing either 2800µg FA, 60mg iron and 2800µg FA, or the same amount of IFA plus other micronutrients, from baseline until conception, followed by daily prenatal supplements containing 60mg iron and 400µg FA till delivery. We evaluated the effects of the intervention on stunting and longitudinal growth trajectories from birth to age 2 y using logistic regression and mixed models.
The prevalence of stunting at 2 y was lower in the MM and IFA group compared to FA, but these differences were not statistically significant (MM: 22% IFA: 21% FA: 26%, p=0.21). There were no significant differences in mean HAZ at age 2 y (-0.95±0.04), however the decline in mean HAZ over time from birth (-0.37±0.01/year) was slower in the IFA (0.07±0.03, p=0.02), but not MM (0.01±0.03, p=0.84) vs. FA.
Preconception supplementation with MM or IFA did not reduce stunting at 2 years compared to FA but may have affected growth trajectories especially for those who received IFA.