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Open AccessArticle

Diet Quality and Adequacy of Nutrients in Preschool Children: Should Rice Fortified with Micronutrients Be Included in School Meals?

1
Department of Nutrition and Health, Federal University of Viçosa, Av. Purdue, Campus, Viçosa, MG 36570-900, Brazil
2
Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Av. Doutor Raimundo Monteiro Rezende, 330, Downtown, Governador Valadares, MG 35.010-177, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2016, 8(5), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8050296
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 2 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 14 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fortification to Combat Micronutrient Deficiencies)
Feeding is indicative of the nutritional status of children, however micronutrient deficiency is common in this age group. We evaluated the impact of inclusion of rice (Ultra Rice® (UR®)) fortified with iron, zinc, thiamin and folic acid on laboratory measurements and the nutrient intake of children. Ninety-nine preschoolers (2–6 years; 42.6% male) from two preschools participated, one of which received UR® added to polished rice as part of school meals (test preschool) and the other received only polished rice (control preschool). Biochemical evaluations were performed before and after four months of intervention. Feeding was assessed by direct weighing of food, complemented by 24-h recalls, and the diet was assessed by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) adapted to the Brazilian reality. The fortified rice improved the levels of zinc (p < 0.001), thiamine (p < 0.001), folic acid (p = 0.003), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (p < 0.001) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (p < 0.001). The inadequacy percentages of thiamine, folic acid and iron were lower among preschoolers from the test preschool. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of using UR® on laboratory measurements of children. The inadequate intake of thiamine, folic acid and iron was also reduced, making the fortified rice an interesting strategy in school feeding programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamins; minerals; fortification; hidden hunger; health eating index vitamins; minerals; fortification; hidden hunger; health eating index
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Della Lucia, C.M.; Rodrigues, K.C.C.; Rodrigues, V.C.C.; Santos, L.L.M.; Cardoso, L.M.; Martino, H.S.D.; Franceschini, S.C.C.; Pinheiro-Sant’Ana, H.M. Diet Quality and Adequacy of Nutrients in Preschool Children: Should Rice Fortified with Micronutrients Be Included in School Meals? Nutrients 2016, 8, 296.

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