Developing community-based interventions that address micronutrient deficiencies can target individuals, families, and communities. The study objective was to determine how micronutrient deficiencies clump together in order to determine if a family based intervention would be beneficial for preventing vitamin A and iron deficiencies.
A baseline study at the start of a solar market garden intervention was conducted in 16 villages near the town of Kalalè, in the Borgou Department of Benin. The survey included mother and child dyads who were randomly selected from the villages and a separate group who were part of community womens groups. Demographic, dietary, anthropometric and biomarkers for inflammation (CRP, AGP) iron (hemoglobin, transferrin receptor and ferritin) and serum retinol were collected. Cross-tabulations to determine how measurements of micronutrient deficiency were paired within household.
Results from 598 mother-child pairs indicated that children were twice as likely to have vitamin A deficiency if their mother vitamin A deficiency compared with children whose mothers did not have vitamin A deficiency (27.2% vs. 13.0%). Similarly, mothers were almost twice as to have vitamin A deficiency if their child had vitamin A deficiency (62.9% vs. 37.1%). There was no association between mothers and children with regards to those who had low serum ferritin levels, or for those who classified as having, anemia, iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia. Adjustments for potential confounders did not alter the results.
These data suggest that family based vitamin A interventions may be more beneficial in Benin compared with family based interventions that target iron deficiency.