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Jornal de Pediatria

On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


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 1678-4782.

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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