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0448 - Iron and folic acid status of children 6 to 59 months in Morocco three years after the commercialization of wheat flour fortified with elemental iron and folic acid

Authors

  • Aguenaou, Hassan 
  • Barkat, Amina 
  • Benkirane, Hasnae
  • El Arbi, Rjimati
  • El Haloui, Noureddine
  • El Hamdouchi, Asmaa 
  • El Menchawy, Imane 
  • Elammari, Laila
  • Elhalouie, Noureddine 
  • Heikel, Jaafar 
  • Saeid, Naima 
  • Taboz, Younes 

Objectives

The introduction of bread with food diversification after six months of exclusive maternal breastfeeding is common in Moroccan dietary habits. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of consumption of wheat flour fortified with elemental iron and folic acid on the iron status of children (6 to 59 months).

Methods

Data collection was conducted in 38 health centers. Two biomarkers were analyzed: hemoglobin (n= 1188), and folic acid (n= 386).

Results

The results showed that among studied children, 37% were anemic (hemoglobin <11g / dl). The highest prevalence was found mainly in rural and suburban regions. In this cohort, anemia affects boys (39.1%) more than girls (35.1%). Anemia is more pronounced among children aged 36 to 47.9 months and subsequently decreases depending on the age.The subsampling (n = 386) showed that 29.5% of children had folic acid deficiency (folic acid <3 ng / ml). By age groups, children 6 -11.9 months showed the lowest prevalence of folic acid deficiency (5.6%). Children 48-60 months showed the highest prevalence (35.5%). Children 12 - 23.9 months had a prevalence of 27.4%, those aged 24 - 35.9 months had a prevalence of 30.7% and children 36 - 47.9 months had a prevalence of 23.7%.

Conclusions

The fortification of flour with elemental iron does not seem to show any improvement of children iron status (6 to 59 months). This fortification is considered to have failed as a component of the national strategy of fortification of staple foods with vitamins and minerals.

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