Co-assessment of iron, vitamin A and growth status to investigate anemia in preschool children in suburb Chongqing, China
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- Chen, K., Zhang, X., Li, T. et al. World J Pediatr (2009) 5: 275. doi:10.1007/s12519-009-0052-z
Anemia is a widespread public health problem, which is due to many factors, nutritional or non-nutritional. Iron, vitamin A and growth status were assessed to investigate anemia of preschool children in suburb Chongqing, China.
A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was performed on 459 preschool children aged 2 to 7 years randomly chosen from the kindergartens in 6 suburban districts of Chongqing. Weight and height levels, hemoglobin, erythrocyte protoporphyrin, serum retinol, and ferritin concentrations were measured to evaluate the anthropometric and nutritional status.
The rates of stunt, underweight, overweight, wasting, obesity, anemia, iron deficiency, vitamin A deficiency (VAD), and marginal VAD were 6.3%, 3.9%, 3.7%, 1.5%, 3.1%, 23.5%, 15.0%, 6.3% and 25.9%, respectively. Serum retinol concentration was significantly lower in children with anemia than in those without anemia (P=0.003), and the retinol concentration was associated with hemoglobin (Pearson’s correlation coefficient, r=0.22, P<0.01). Children with VAD had a significantly increased risk for anemia (odds ratio, 2.56; 95% confident interval, 1.15–5.70). In all 108 children with anemia, only 42 were related to VAD and 12 related to iron deficiency, suggesting that almost half of the anemia children cannot be explained solely by iron deficiency or VAD.
Vitamin A and iron deficiency are still public health problems in some localities of China. Public health interventions in anemia control should be used to eliminate deficiencies of vitamin A, iron, and other micronutrients by deliberate supplementation. Attention must be paid to such deficiencies in high-risk groups, especially in preschool children.