Open Access The Helen Keller International food-frequency method underestimates vitamin A intake where sustained breastfeeding is common

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A recent innovation in assessing community vitamin A status is the Helen Keller International food-frequency method, which is based on weekly intakes of key foods among pre-school children. Since it excludes breastmilk, we investigated whether the amount of breastmilk received by 40 children aged one to three years in a rural area of Bangladesh contributed significantly to their vitamin A intake. Vitamin A intake was indirectly calculated from the consumption of breastmilk, which was quantified over a 9-hour period by a test-weighing technique. The estimated mean 24-hour milk intake was 548 g for the 97% who were breastfed at 12 to 23 months and 312 g for the 73% who were breastfed at 24 to 36 months. This represents an average daily intake of 41% and 23% of the safe recommended daily intake (400 RE) for vitamin A, respectively. The Helen Keller International food-frequency method should be revalidated for settings where breastfeeding is sustained beyond infancy.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1998

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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