The Contribution of Pro-Vitamin A Biofortified Cassava to Vitamin A Intake in Nigerian Pre-school Children

Afolami, Ibukun; Samuel, Folake; Borgonjen-Van Den Berg, Karin; Mwangi, Martin; Kalejaiye, Olatundun; Sanusi, Rasaki A.; Ayu Rizka Putri, Linda; Brivio, Francesca; Brouwer, Inge D.; Melse-Boonstra, Alida


Background: Biofortified yellow cassava has been developed to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. We examined the potential contribution of yellow cassava to total Retinol Activity Equivalent (RAE)intake if replacing white by yellow cassava among pre-school Nigerian children. Methods: Dietary intake was assessed as part of a randomized controlled trial. Preschool children (n=176) were randomly assigned to receive either white cassava (WC) or yellow cassava (YC) for 17 weeks. Dietary intakeassessments were conducted during the intervention and one month after, when children had resumed their habitual diet. Differences in RAE intake between groups and time points were compared using a linear mixed model regression analysis. Results: During intervention, median RAE intake was 536 μg/day in the YC group and 301 μg/day in the WC group (p<0.0001). YC contributed 40% tototal RAE intake. Nine percent of children in the YC versus 29% in the WC groups had RAE intake below the Estimated Average Requirement. After intervention, median RAE intake was 300 μg/day and did not differ between intervention groups (p=0.5). The interaction effect of group and time showed a 37% decrease in RAE intake in the YC group after the intervention (Exp(β) = 0.63 [95% CI 0.56, 0.72]). If WC was replaced by YC after intervention, the potential contribution of YC to total RAE intake was estimated to be 32%. Conclusions: Yellow cassava increased total RAE intake andshowed a substantially lower inadequacy of intake. It is therefore recommended as a good source of provitamin A in cassava-consuming regions.