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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    A Simplified Regimen Compared with WHO Guidelines Decreases Antenatal Calcium Supplement Intake for Prevention of Preeclampsia in a Cluster-Randomized Noninferiority Trial in Rural Kenya.

    Omotayo MO; Dickin KL; Pelletier DL; Mwanga EO; Kung'u JK; Stoltzfus RJ

    Journal of Nutrition. 2017 Oct; 147(10):1986-1991.

    Background: To prevent preeclampsia, the WHO recommends antenatal calcium supplementation in populations with inadequate habitual intake. The WHO recommends 1500-2000 mg Ca/d with iron-folic acid (IFA) taken separately, a complex pill-taking regimen. Objective: The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that simpler regimens with lower daily dosages would lead to higher adherence and similar supplement intake.Methods: In the Micronutrient Initiative Calcium Supplementation study, we compared the mean daily supplement intake associated with 2 dosing regimens with the use of a parallel, cluster-randomized noninferiority trial implemented in 16 primary health care facilities in rural Kenya. The standard regimen was 3 x 500 mg Ca/d in 3 pill-taking events, and the low-dose regimen was 2 x 500 mg Ca/d in 2 pill-taking events; both regimens included a 200 IU cholecalciferol and calcium pill and a separate IFA pill. We enrolled 990 pregnant women between 16 and 30 wk of gestation. The primary outcome was supplemental calcium intake measured by pill counts 4 and 8 wk after recruitment. We carried out intention-to-treat analyses with the use of mixed-effect models, with regimen as the fixed effect and health care facilities as a random effect, by using a noninferiority margin of 125 mg Ca/d.Results: Women in facilities assigned to the standard regimen consumed a mean of 1198 mg Ca/d, whereas those assigned to the low-dose regimen consumed 810 mg Ca/d. The difference in intake was 388 mg Ca/d (95% CI = 341, 434 mg Ca/d), exceeding the prespecified margin of 125 mg Ca/d. The overall adherence rate was 80% and did not differ between study arms.Conclusions: Contrary to our expectation, a simpler, lower-dose regimen led to significantly lower supplement intake than the regimen recommended by the WHO. Further studies are needed to precisely characterize the dose-response relation of calcium supplementation and preeclampsia risk and to examine cost effectiveness of lower and simpler regimens in program settings. This trial was registered at as NCT02238704. (c) 2017 American Society for Nutrition.
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  2. 2

    Guideline: Calcium supplementation in pregnant women.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2013. [35] p.

    This guideline provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on the use of calcium supplements as a public health intervention for the purpose of improving pregnancy outcomes. Poor maternal and newborn health and nutrition remain significant contributors to the burden of disease and mortality. Calcium supplementation has the potential to reduce adverse gestational outcomes, in particular, by decreasing the risk of developing hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, which are associated with a significant number of maternal deaths and considerable risk of preterm birth, the leading cause of early neonatal and infant mortality. Member States have requested guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the efficacy and safety of calcium supplementation in pregnant women as a public health strategy, in support of their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the global targets set in the maternal, infant and child nutrition comprehensive implementation plan. The guideline is intended for a wide audience including policy-makers, their expert advisers, and technical and programme staff at organizations involved in the design, implementation and scaling-up of nutrition actions for public health.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    World Health Organization randomized trial of calcium supplementation among low calcium intake pregnant women.

    Villar J; Abdel-Aleem H; Merialdi M; Mathai M; Ali MM

    American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2006 Mar; 194(3):639-649.

    The purpose of this trial was to determine whether calcium supplementation of pregnant women with low calcium intake reduces preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Randomized placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial in nulliparous normotensive women from populations with dietary calcium !600 mg/d. Women who were recruited before gestational week 20 received supplements (1.5 g calcium/d or placebo) throughout pregnancy. Primary outcomes were preeclampsia and preterm delivery; secondary outcomes focused on severe morbidity and maternal and neonatal mortality rates. The groups comprised 8325 women who were assigned randomly. Both groups had similar gestational ages, demographic characteristics, and blood pressure levels at entry. Compliance were both 85% and follow-up losses (calcium, 3.4%; placebo, 3.7%). Calcium supplementation was associated with a non-statistically significant small reduction in preeclampsia (4.1% vs 4.5%) that was evident by 35 weeks of gestation (1.2% vs 2.8%; P = .04). Eclampsia (risk ratio, 0.68: 95% CI, 0.48-0.97) and severe gestational hypertension (risk ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.61-0.82) were significantly lower in the calcium group. Overall, there was a reduction in the severe preeclamptic complications index (risk ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.66-0.89; life-table analysis, log rank test; P = .04). The severe maternal morbidity and mortality index was also reduced in the supplementation group (risk ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.70-0.91). Preterm delivery (the neonatal primary outcome) and early preterm delivery tended to be reduced among women who were %20 years of age (risk ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67-1.01; risk ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.42-0.98, respectively). The neonatal mortality rate was lower (risk ratio, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.56-0.88) in the calcium group. A 1.5-g calcium/day supplement did not prevent preeclampsia but did reduce its severity, maternal morbidity, and neonatal mortality, albeit these were secondary outcomes. (author's)
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  4. 4
    Peer Reviewed

    Child nutrition and oral health in Ulaanbaatar.

    Karvonen HM; Nuutinen O; Uusitalo U; Sorvari R; Ihanainen M

    Nutrition Research. 2003; 23(9):1165-1176.

    This study investigated the nutritional status and eating habits of Mongolian children in relation to dental health. Growth and oral health of 151 Ulaanbaatarian children under age five were examined, and their parents were interviewed on child’s health and eating habits. Every tenth child had a low weight for age and the mean energy intake of the weaned children was 89%-96% of the recommendation by WHO. Frequent eating exposed the teeth of children to many acid attacks. Every third child over age three had serious developmental defects in their teeth, which might be associated with deficient intakes of energy and calcium, highly variable vitamin D supplementation and gastrointestinal infections. All of the examined 4 to 5-year old children had caries and the average number of decayed teeth was 6.5. Severe caries was related to the abundant use of sugar, whereas proper dental health was related to use of hard cheese. (author's)
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  5. 5

    Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy.


    A meeting in Singapore of principal investigators from 7 countries in a WHO collaborative study on hypertensive disease of pregnancy, also called pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, pointed out women at risk, suggested management guidelines, and summarized operations research projects involving administration of aspirin or calcium supplements. Hypertensive disease of pregnancy may ultimately end in fatal seizures. It is often marked by warning signs of severe headaches and facial and peripheral edema. A survey in Jamaica found that 0.72% of a group of 10,000 pregnant women had eclamptic seizures. These were the cause of almost one-third of all obstetric deaths in the period 1981-1983. 10.4% of the pregnant women had hypertension, and half of these had proteinuria. Associated risk factors were primigravida, age >30, abnormal weight gain, edema, 1+ proteinuria. A phased program of management guidelines for identifying and treating affected women is being instituted in half of Jamaica's parishes. An operations research project involves administration of low-dose aspirin vs. placebo. Another controlled trial, in Peru, is testing calcium supplements. A third trial in Argentina will compare 2 drug regimens.
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