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Jornal de Pediatria
On-line version ISSN 1678-4782
FERRAZ, Ivan S. et al. Prevalence of iron deficiency and its association with vitamin A deficiency in preschool children. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.2, pp. 169-174. ISSN 1678-4782. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572005000300014.
OBJECTIVES: To identify the prevalence of iron deficiency in the population studied, as well as verifying if such deprivation is associated with vitamin A deficiency. METHODS: One hundred seventy-nine children, > 24 months and < 72 months of age, with no diarrhea and/or fever at collection were studied. Vitamin A deficiency identification was carried out through serum 30-day dose-response test. Samples of peripheral blood from fasting children was obtained for hemoglobin counts, serum iron, and unsaturated iron binding capacity assays. Information about the presence of diarrhea and/or fever during the 15 days preceding the study was also obtained. RESULTS: 35.8% (64/179) of the children presented iron deficiency and 75.4% (135/179), vitamin A deficiency. 29.1% (52/179) of the children presented both iron and vitamin A deficiencies. Iron deficiency was not associated with vitamin A deficiency. A separate analysis for each hematimetric index also demonstrated no significant difference between children with or without vitamin A deficiency. Children aged 24 to 36 months presented significantly higher prevalence rates of iron deficiency (p = 0.0005) as did children with diarrhea and/or fever during the 15 days preceding the study (p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Although iron deficiency was not associated with vitamin A deficiency, high rates of both deficiencies were exhibited in a "healthy" population with low malnutrition indices. Such situations are known as "hidden hunger". Younger children presented a higher risk of iron deficiency as did children with diarrhea and/or fever during the 15 days preceding the study.
Keywords : Iron; anemia; vitamin A; malnutrition; child health care.