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The positive impact of red palm oil in school meals on vitamin A status: study in Burkina Faso

Author(s): Zeba Augustin | Prével Yves | Somé Issa | Delisle Hélène

Journal: Nutrition Journal
ISSN 1475-2891

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 17;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background Vitamin A (VA) deficiency is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and school-age children are a vulnerable group. In Burkina Faso, the production and consumption of red palm oil (RPO) is being promoted as a food supplement for VA. The objective of the study was to assess the impact on serum retinol of adding RPO to school lunch in two test zones of Burkina Faso. Methods Over one school year, 15 ml RPO was added to individual meals 3 times a week in selected primary schools in two sites. Serum retinol was measured with HPLC at baseline and exactly 12 months later to take account of seasonality. A simple pre-post test design was used in the Kaya area (north-central Burkina), where 239 pupils from 15 intervention schools were randomly selected for the evaluation. In Bogandé (eastern Burkina), 24 schools were randomised for the controlled intervention trial: 8 negative controls (G1) with only the regular school lunch; 8 positive controls (G2) where the pupils received a single VA capsule (60 mg) at the end of the school year; and 8 schools with RPO through the school year (G3). A random sample of 128 pupils in each school group took part in the evaluation. Results In Kaya, serum retinol went from 0.77 ± 0.37 μmol/L at baseline to 1.07 ± 0.40 μmol/L one year later (p < 0.001). The rate of low serum retinol (
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