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Open AccessArticle

Micronutrient Deficiencies among Breastfeeding Infants in Tanzania

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Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Management and Development for Health, P.O. Box 79810 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Africa Academy for Public Health, P.O. Box 79810 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Ifakara Health Institute, P.O. Box 78373 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(11), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111258
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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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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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