Seeking Optimal Means to Address Micronutrient Deficiencies in Food Supplements: A Case Study from the Bangladesh Integrated Nutrition Project|
Karim, Rezaul; Desplats, Gwénola; Schaetzel, Thomas; Herforth, Anna; Ahmed, Faruk; Salamatullah, Quazi; Shahjahan, Mohammad; Akhtaruzzaman, Mohammed & Levinson, F. James
In seeking to improve the micronutrient contents of a food supplement used in a major community-based nutrition project in Bangladesh, operations research was conducted to compare the provision of needed micronutrients through additional food sources (fresh or dried fruits or vegetables), a micronutrient multi-mix, and a combination of the two. Micronutrient gaps (the difference between micronutrient requirements and actual micronutrient intake) were estimated for four groups of project beneficiaries, with target intakes defined as requirements for iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B12 recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization. Primary focus was placed on iron and vitamin A. Cost and bulk constraint analyses, based on cost of supplement, feasibility of delivery, and serving volume needed to achieve micronutrient targets, were used for comparing the supplement options. In terms of these analyses, the micronutrient multi-mix proved, by far, to be the most advantageous. Food options, however, are arguably desirable in that they provide dietary benefits additional to that of known micronutrients and may increase demand to boost production of domestic fruits and vegetables for the population as a whole. The study concludes that it is cost-effective to use powdered micronutrient mixes for such specific purposes as enrichment of supplementary food and food fortification, but encourages production and consumption of micronutrient-rich foods through programme messages and activities.
Micronutrients; Food supplementation; Food fortification; Nutrition disorders; Nutrition; Operations research; Fruits; Vegetables; Bangladesh