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Open Access Empowering a tea-plantation community to improve its micronutrient health

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This project was designed to convince and empower management and plantation workers to improve their own nutritional health status and productivity. Plantations are generally bypassed by the government's primary health-care system. A nine-month intervention with iron (60 mg of elemental iron) and vitamin A supplementation and iodized salt was performed on the Balanoor Plantations in India. Of the women tea pickers, 99% (n = 334) received the supplements and bought the iodized salt from the plantation ration shop. Their mean hemoglobin level rose significantly from 11.0 to 11.9 g/dl. The women pickers gave the supplements to their families as well as themselves. The results were the same whether iron was given once or twice a week. The mean hemoglobin level of the women pickers rose significantly from 11.1 to 12.0 g/dl with the twice-weekly dose and from 10.9 to 11.8 g/dl with the weekly dose. The prevalence of clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency in the entire plantation population (about 2,500) was reduced significantly (from 19% to 4%), as was iodine deficiency (from 17% to 7%). Common health problems decreased from 88% to 54%. The number of patients referred to larger hospitals decreased significantly from 116 to 86. Absenteeism was not affected.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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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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