The aim of this study was to assess the effect of folic acid supplementation with ferrous sulfate on both linear growth and weight gain in anemic and non-anemic children attending Municipal Daycare Centers in Goiania, State of Goias, Brazil.
A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was conducted on 188 children aged 6-24 months. The effects of ferrous sulfate and folic acid supplementation was evaluated using the analysis of variance procedure, based on a double factorial model with two factors of fixed effects (folic acid supplementation and ferrous sulfate supplementation), adjusted for initial weight. The level of significance was 0.05.
The children who received folic acid supplementation showed greater weight gain than the monthly average weight gain of those not given the supplement (P =0.026). This effect was independent of the dose of ferrous sulfate (P for interaction =0.693). Folic acid supplementation increased the gain of weight-for-age Z-score when compared with the placebo group (P=0.018), independent of the dose of ferrous sulfate.
Folic acid had no effect on linear growth. The use of folic acid supplementation increased the monthly average weight gain and the gain in weight-for-age Z-score compared with the placebo group. This effect was independent of the dose of ferrous sulfate.