Impact of Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation on Cognitive Abilities of School Girls in Vadodara

Objectives: To assess impact of daily and intermittent iron-folate (IFA) supplementation on cognition of underprivileged primary schoolgirls in Vadodara.
Desgin: Experimental-control longitudinal study.
Setting: Municipal primary schools.
Participants: Schoolgirls (n=161) in the age group of 9 - 13 years.
Intervention: Participants at three randomly selected schools were given IFA tablets (100 mg elemental iron + 0.5 mg folic acid) either once weekly or twice weekly or daily for one year. The fourth was the control school.
Outcome Measures: Digit span, maze test, visual memory test, and clerical task scores.
Results: IFA supplementation given daily and twice-weekly significantly improved cognition in most tests; the effect was not seen in once-weekly or control groups. In daily and twice weekly IFA groups, positive change in cognition test scores was relatively higher in girls with good compliance(< 70 % dose) vs. poor compliance; in anemic (hemoglobin < 11 g/dL) vs non-anemic girls and in those with higher hemoglobin (Hb) gain (< 1g/dL) vs. lower Hb gain.
Conclusion: Twice weekly IFA supplementation is comparable to daily IFA in terms of beneficial effects on cognition in young adolescent girls.

Indian Pediatrics
Sen A, Kanani SJ