Main Article Content
Background Diarrhea has been a health problem in children
under five year old. Although the mortality caused by acute
diarrhea has fallen worldwide, the mortality has increased in
developing countries, such as Indonesia.
Objective To assess the effect of folic acid in reducing the severity
of acute diarrhea in children.
Methods This study was a single-blind, randomized control trial
in children with diarrhea aged six months to five years at a local
goverrnent clinic in the Secanggang District, Langkat Regency,
North Sumatera Province from August 2009 until January
20 10. Subjects were recruited by con secutive sampling then
randomized into two groups. Of the 112 children who participated,
56 children received oral fo lic acid and 56 children received
placebo, 1 capsule per day for five days. The statistical analyses
used were the independent T-test and Chi square test with 95%
confidence intervals (95% CI) and P values < 0.05 considered
to be statistically significant.
Results There were significant differences between the fo lic acid
and placebo groups with regards to stool consistency (P=0.02),
diarrheal volume on the second day [ 14 7 .52 vs. 303 .21 mL,
respectively, (P=0.001)], frequency of diarrhea on the third day
[1.9 vs 2.8 episodes, respectively, (P= 0.001)], duration of initial
treatment to recovery [91.3 vs. 117 .9 hours, respectively, (P =
0.001) and the total duration between initial symptoms and
recovery (123.6 vs . 147.4 hours, respectively, (P = 0.001)].
Conclusion Oral folic acid is clinically beneficial for reducing the
severity of acute diarrh ea in children under five year old.
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