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Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
VITOLO, Márcia Regina and BORTOLINI, Gisele Ane. Iron bioavailability as a protective factor against anemia among children aged 12 to 16 months. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.1, pp. 33-38. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.2223/JPED.1577.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the nutritional factors that determine the absence of anemia in infants from families with a low socioeconomic background submitted to a nutrition intervention program, as well as iron intake according to recommendations. METHODS: The study included 369 children from a cohort of inhabitants of São Leopoldo, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, who were randomized at birth into an intervention group and into a control group. The intervention group had nutritional guidance in the first year of life, with monthly follow-up home visits, whereas the control group was visited at 6 and 12 months, without nutritional intervention. At the end of the first year of life, a 24-hour recall was used. Anemia was diagnosed based on a hemoglobin level less than 11 g/dL. The children's diets were classified according to iron bioavailability. RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia amounted to 63.7% in this study. The proportion of children with adequate iron intake relative to the recommendations was statistically higher in the nonanemic group (26.8%) than in the anemic one (17.7%). Nonanemic children had a greater intake of iron (p = 0.019), vitamin C (p = 0.001), energy density at dinner (p = 0.006), iron density per 1,000 calories (p = 0.045); and 16.3% of them had a diet with high iron bioavailability (p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: A diet with high iron bioavailability protects children from anemia and can be used as an intervention measure by basic health services and by the municipal departments of children's education.
Keywords : Anemia; bioavailability; iron; child health.