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Blood retinol and β-carotene levels in rural Guatemalan preschool children

Abstract

Plasma retinol and β-carotene levels were measured in 502 preschool Guatemalan children from five rural hamlets. Their ages ranged from 6 to 78 months (mean: 42.9±19.2 months); 45% males and 55% females. The mean retinol value in the whole group was 0.9±0.4 µmol/1 (range: 0.1 to 8.4 µmol/1). There was no significant difference between sexes in retinol mean values nor in the incidence of retinol values less than 0.7 µmol/1 (22% in males, 18% in females). When grouped by age and community, significant low retinol mean values were found in two hamlets in the youngest age group (12 to 23 months) as compared to the other age-groups (p<0.05). In the other two hamlets, there were no significant differences among retinol means by age-group. The highest prevalence of deficient retinol values by age-group was in the 12 to 23 months group (40%), and decreased as age increased. The mean value for β-carotene in the whole group was 0.13±0.18 µmol/1 (range: 0.01 to 2.23 µmol/1). There were no significant differences in β-carotene means between sexes in the whole group. Stratifying the β-carotene data by age-groups and community, values were significantly higher in the 48–59 months and 72–83 months groups, as compared with the other age groups in two of the communities (p<0.05). Significant differences across communities for β-carotene were found only in the 12 to 23 months group.

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Romero-Abal, M.E., Mendoza, I., Bulux, J. et al. Blood retinol and β-carotene levels in rural Guatemalan preschool children. Eur J Epidemiol 11, 133–139 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01719477

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Key words

  • β-carotene
  • Guatemala
  • Hypovitaminosis A
  • Preschool children
  • Retinol