A food-based approach introducing orange-fleshed sweet potatoes increased Vitamin A intake and serum retinol concentrations in young children in rural Mozambique.
Vitamin A deficiency is widespread and has severe consequences for young children in the developing world. Food-based approaches may be an appropriate and sustainable complement to supplementation programs. Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) is rich in ß-carotene and is well accepted by young children. In an extremely resource poor area in Mozambique, the effectiveness of introduction of OFSP was assessed in an integrated agriculture and nutrition intervention, which aimed to increase vitamin A intake and serum retinol concentrations in young children. The 2-y quasi-experimental intervention study followed households and children (n = 741; mean age 13 mo at baseline) through 2 agricultural cycles. In y 2, 90% of intervention households produced OFSP, and mean OFSP plot size in intervention areas increased from 33 to 359 m2. Intervention children (n = 498) were more likely than control children (n = 243) to eat OFSP 3 or more d in the last wk (55% vs. 8%, P
Journal of Nutrition (2007) 137 (5) 1320-1327