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Combating iron deficiency: Wheat Consumption Patterns in Sri Lanka


C. Piyasena ,

Medical Research Institute, Colombo, LK
About C.
Nutrition Division
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R. Mudalige,

Ministry of Youth, Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla, LK
About R.
Sports and Rural Development
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P. Nestel

Johns Hopkins University, US
About P.
Department of International Health
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The wheat flour consumption pattern in Sri Lanka has been studied by (i) including questions on wheat flour purchases and the consumption of wheat-based foods in the Third National Nutrition and Health Survey, carried out between October 1994 and January 1995 by the Ministry of Policy Planning, Ethnic Affairs and National Integration; and (ii) by a recipe survey carried out in the dry, the coastal and the highland zones, represented by the Anuradhapura, Matara and Colombo, and the Nuwara Eliya Districts, respectively. The quantity of wheat flour purchased by a household during the previous month was noted. In addition a 24 hour dietary recall provided information on consumption of wheat based foods. The recipe survey entailed weighing the raw ingredients, total cooked weight, total number of cooked units, as well as the size and weight of one unit of each food. Data was also obtained from manufacturers of biscuits, cake and bread.


More than 4 out of 5 households purchase wheat flour, the average purchase being 7.5kg wheat flour/month, with large provincial and sectoral differences. Purchases in the estate sector (22kg/month/household) were about 4 times greater than in either the urban or rural sectors. The main sources of wheat flour were bread, roti and Marie biscuits. Wheat flour consumption by children under 5yrs and their mothers was about 140g/day in the estate sector, about 80g/day in the urban sector and about 100 g/day in rural sector.


The results indicate that wheat flour is a suitable vehicle for iron fortification.
How to Cite: Piyasena, C., Mudalige, R. and Nestel, P., 1996. Combating iron deficiency: Wheat Consumption Patterns in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, 39(1), pp.17–22. DOI:
Published on 27 Jun 1996.
Peer Reviewed


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