~Effect of weekly vitamin D supplements on mortality, morbidity, and growth of low birthweight term infants in India up to age 6 months: randomised controlled trial
BMJ 2011; 342:d2975 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2975 (Published 31 May 2011)
Geeta Trilok Kumar, associate professor1, geetatrilokkumar at gmail.com
Harshpal Singh Sachdev, senior consultant in paediatrics and clinical epidemiology2,
Harish Chellani, consultant paediatrician3,
Andrea M Rehman, lecturer in medical statistics 4,
Vini Singh, research fellow1,
Harsh Arora, research fellow1,
Suzanne Filteau, professor of international nutrition4
1 Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University, F-4 Haus Khas Enclave. New Delhi-110016, India
2 Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, B-16 Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi, India
3 Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India
4 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
Accepted 14 March 2011
Objective To investigate whether vitamin D supplementation can decrease the mortality and morbidity of low birthweight infants in low income countries.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Large government hospital in New Delhi, India.
Participants 2079 low birthweight infants born at term (>37 weeks’ gestation).
Main outcome measures Primary outcome was admission to hospital or death during the first six months of life. Main secondary outcome was growth.
Interventions Weekly vitamin D supplements for six months at a dose of one recommended nutrient intake per day (35 µg/week). Infants were visited weekly at home for observed supplementation and were brought to the clinic monthly for clinical examination and anthropometric measurements.
Results Between group differences were not significant for death or hospital admissions (92 among 1039 infants in the vitamin D group v 99 among 1040 infants in the placebo group; adjusted rate ratio 0.93, 95% confidence interval 0.68 to 1.29; P=0.68), or referral to the outpatient clinic for moderate morbidity. Vitamin D supplementation resulted in better vitamin D status as assessed by plasma calcidiol levels at six months. In adjusted analyses, vitamin D treatment significantly increased standard deviation (z) scores at six months for weight, length, and arm circumference and decreased the proportion of children with stunted growth (length for age z score ?2) or with arm circumference z scores of 2 or less.
Conclusion A weekly dose of vitamin D resulted in better vitamin D status and benefited the classic vitamin D function of bone growth but did not decrease the incidence of severe morbidity or death among young low birthweight infants.
Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00415402.
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