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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557

Abstract

VIEIRA, Ana Cláudia F. et al. Nutritional assessment of iron status and anemia in children under 5 years old at public daycare centers. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.4, pp. 370-376. ISSN 0021-7557.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572007000500014.

OBJECTIVE: To assess nutritional iron status and anemia prevalence in children less than 5 years old at public daycare centers in the city of Recife, PE, Brazil. METHODS: A cross-sectional study, with a systematic random sampling of 162 children aged 6 to 59 months. Nutritional iron status was assessed in terms of body iron reserves (serum ferritin), transferrinemia (serum iron, total iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation %), erythropoiesis (free erythrocyte protoporphyrin) and hemoglobin production (hemoglobin). RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia (hemoglobin < 11.0 g/dL) was 55.6% (95%CI 47.3-63.5), evidence was found of depleted iron stocks (serum ferritin < 12.0 ng/mL) in 30.8% (95%CI 22.9-39.3), low transferrinemia levels (transferrin saturation % < 16) in 60.1% (95%CI 51.7-68.0) and deficient erythropoiesis (free erythrocyte protoporphyrin > 40 µmol/mol heme) in 69.6% (95%CI 61.0-77.1) of the children. Iron parameters were not correlated with sex (p > 0.05). However, children < 24 months exhibited lower hemoglobin concentrations (p < 0.00) and higher levels of free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (p < 0.000) and total iron binding capacity (p < 0.001) when compared with children > 24 months. The significant correlation observed between reserves, transferrinemia and erythropoiesis is a finding that is compatible with the expected lifecycle of iron in the body. CONCLUSIONS: Iron deficiency and anemia appear to be an important public health problem among children less than 5 years old at public daycare centers in Recife. Therefore, effective actions aimed at the prevention and control of this deficiency are strongly recommended in this ecological context.

Keywords : Anemia; iron deficiency; hemoglobin; serum ferritin; serum iron; total iron binding capacity; transferrin saturation; free erythrocyte protoporphyrin; preschool children.

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