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Keywords:

  • Child nutrition disorders;
  • developing countries;
  • pneumonia;
  • Vietnam;
  • vitamin A

We carried out a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial to evaluate the effect on morbidity of high dose oral vitamin A, given on hospital admission to 592 children aged 1–59 months with moderate and severe pneumonia. Severely underweight children were not included, but 45% were moderately underweight. The vitamin A and placebo groups were comparable in baseline characteristics. Four patients died. Among all of the surviving children, no differences were found regarding mean time for normalization of fever, respiratory rate and time of hospitalization. Stratification for moderate malnutrition, degree of pneumonia, age and sex revealed moderately malnourished vitamin A-supplemented children to have a shorter time of hospitalization (p= 0. 04), due to an effect in females aged > 12 months (p= 0. 02) and females with very severe pneumonia (p= 0. 048). This study indicates that, in developing countries like Vietnam, supplementation with vitamin A in children with pneumonia could shorten the recovery rate in the ones that are undernourished, especially females > 1 y old.