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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557

Abstract

LIMA, Ana C. V. M. S. et al. Impact of weekly treatment with ferrous sulfate on hemoglobin level, morbidity and nutritional status of anemic infants. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2006, vol.82, n.6, pp. 452-457. ISSN 0021-7557.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2223/JPED.1568.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of weekly treatment with ferrous sulfate on hemoglobin level, morbidity and nutritional status in a sample of anemic infants from Zona da Mata Meridional in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. METHODS: A controlled, community-based intervention was carried out with 378 infants who were followed-up for 18 months. Hemoglobin level was measured at 12 months in a total of 245 children randomly selected. Participating infants were divided into three groups: two received 45 mg of elemental iron weekly, from 12 to 18 months of life (69 children with moderate/severe anemia, and 111 with mild anemia); the third group was composed of 65 non-anemic children, who received no intervention. The remaining 133 children constituted the control group, for comparisons on nutritional status and morbidity. RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia was 73.5% at 12 months of life. After 6 months of treatment, 42.3% of anemic children reached hemoglobin levels > 11.0 g/dL. The mean increase was 1.6 g/dL, being higher (2.5 g/dL) in the group with lower levels of hemoglobin at baseline. Children without anemia at baseline received no treatment, and 40.3% of them became anemic at the end of follow-up, with a mean decrease of 0.5 g/dL in hemoglobin levels. A significantly greater weight gain was observed in the two treated groups, while no significant improvements were seen in linear growth and duration of diarrhea. CONCLUSIONS: The fact that less than half the children receiving ferrous sulfate recovered from anemia at the end of follow-up, along with the development of anemia in many untreated, previously non-anemic infants, suggests the need for effective control strategies.

Keywords : Anemia; hemoglobin level; iron; weekly treatment; infant.

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