The impact of weekly iron supplementation on the iron status and growth of adolescent girls in Tanzania


correspondence Professor Andrew Tomkins, Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, University College, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK. E-mail:


Summary We evaluated the effect of weekly doses of 400 mg of ferrous sulphate for 4  months on the iron status of adolescent girls in a controlled trial in Tanga, Tanzania. Supplementation led to a significantly greater increase in serum ferritin compared with the control group (+ 15.6 μg/l vs. 8.6 μg/l) (P= 0.002) but there was no significant difference in change in haemoglobin. Children given iron showed a significantly greater weight gain than controls (+ 2.4 kg vs. + 1.4 kg) (P= 0.03). Weekly iron supplementation may be an effective means of increasing iron stores and growth in children vulnerable to iron deficiency.