Adolescence is a period characterized by rapid physical, emotional, and mental growth and changes potentially resulting in health challenges. Anemia, which is a fairly common complication in this age group, is reported to negatively affect the cognitive ability of adolescents. Traditionally, ragi (Finger millet: Eleusine coracana), a cereal available in India, has been recommended as nutritional supplement to combat anemia because of its high protein and mineral content as well as anti-microbial property. This study sought to establish the effect of ragi in improving hematological parameters, body mass index, and scholastic performance among adolescent school girls. Sixty adolescent girls were randomly selected and divided into intervention (n = 30) and control groups (n = 30). The effect of dietary supplementation of ragi porridge on hematological parameters was evaluated on the intervention group at 45 and 90 days. Both groups were monitored for changes in body mass index and scholastic performance. A statistically significant increase in hemoglobin levels was observed in the intervention group after 90 days (from a mean of 11.3 g% to 12.54 g%; t (29) = 7.514, p < .0001), with no significant changes in the control group. No statistically significant differences between the two groups were observed for mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, red cell distribution width, body mass index, and scholastic performance. The data show that daily dietary supplementation with ragi porridge has a positive effect on hemoglobin levels in adolescent high schools girls. A well planned nutrition education with dietary supplementation is thus recommended for better outcomes.
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