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Anemia
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 284050, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/284050
Clinical Study

A Program of Nutritional Education in Schools Reduced the Prevalence of Iron Deficiency in Students

1Laboratorio de Fisiopatología, Centro de Medicina Experimental, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), Caracas 1020-A, Venezuela
2Fundación Bengoa para la Salud y Nutrición, 8va Transversal con 7ma Avenida, Quinta Pacairigua, Altamira, Caracas 1050, Venezuela

Received 18 January 2011; Revised 14 February 2011; Accepted 14 February 2011

Academic Editor: Bruno Annibale

Copyright © 2011 María Nieves García-Casal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The objective was to determine the prevalence of iron, folates and retinol deficiencies in school children and to evaluate the changes after an intervention of nutritional education. The project was developed in 17 schools. The sample included 1,301 children (678 males and 623 females). A subsample of 480 individuals, was randomly selected for drawing blood for biochemical determinations before and after the intervention of nutritional education, which included in each school: written pre and post-intervention tests, 6 workshops, 2 participative talks, 5 game activities, 1 cooking course and 1 recipe contest. Anthropometrical and biochemical determinations included weight, height, body-mass index, nutritional status, hematocrit, serum ferritin, retinol and folate concentrations. There was high prevalence of iron (25%), folates (75%) and vitamin A (43%) deficiencies in school children, with a low consumption of fruit and vegetables, high consumption of soft drinks and snacks and almost no physical activity. The nutritional education intervention produced a significant reduction in iron deficiency prevalence (25 to 14%), and showed no effect on vitamin A and folates deficiencies. There was a slight improvement in nutritional status. This study shows, through biochemical determinations, that nutritional education initiatives and programs have an impact improving nutritional health in school children.