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Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1258; doi:10.3390/nu9111258

Micronutrient Deficiencies among Breastfeeding Infants in Tanzania

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Management and Development for Health, P.O. Box 79810 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Africa Academy for Public Health, P.O. Box 79810 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Ifakara Health Institute, P.O. Box 78373 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Infant mortality accounts for the majority of child deaths in Tanzania, and malnutrition is an important underlying cause. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to describe the micronutrient status of infants in Tanzania and assess predictors of infant micronutrient deficiency. We analyzed serum vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, and ferritin levels from 446 infants at two weeks of age, 408 infants at three months of age, and 427 mothers three months post-partum. We used log-Poisson regression to estimate relative risk of being deficient in vitamin D and vitamin B12 for infants in each age group. The prevalence of vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiency decreased from 60% and 30% at two weeks to 9% and 13% at three months respectively. Yet, the prevalence of insufficiency at three months was 49% for vitamin D and 17% for vitamin B12. Predictors of infant vitamin D deficiency were low birthweight, urban residence, maternal education, and maternal vitamin D status. Maternal vitamin B12 status was the main predictor for infant vitamin B12 deficiency. The majority of infants had sufficient levels of folate or ferritin. Further research is necessary to examine the potential benefits of improving infants’ nutritional status through vitamin D and B12 supplements. View Full-Text
Keywords: micronutrients; infants; Tanzania; vitamin B12; vitamin D micronutrients; infants; Tanzania; vitamin B12; vitamin D

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bellows, A.L.; Smith, E.R.; Muhihi, A.; Briegleb, C.; Noor, R.A.; Mshamu, S.; Sudfeld, C.; Masanja, H.; Fawzi, W.W. Micronutrient Deficiencies among Breastfeeding Infants in Tanzania. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1258.

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