Revista de Nutrição
Print version ISSN 1415-5273
SANTOS, Margarete Aparecida et al. Vitamin A deficiency in school children of the rural area in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.3, pp. 331-339. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732005000300005.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to verify the occurrence of vitamin A deficiency in school children of the rural area of Novo Cruzeiro, Minas Gerais, Brazil, as well as to identify the possible predisposing factors for such occurrence. METHODS: The sample comprised 241 school children, ranging from 6 to 14 years of age, from four rural schools of the region. The serum levels of retinol were interpreted by the criteria of the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition National Defense. The epidemiological significance of the vitamin A deficiency was evaluated according to the World Health Organization criteria. As predisposing factors for vitamin A deficiency, the following conditions were considered: intestinal parasitism, protein-energy malnutrition, inadequate ingestion of vitamin A food sources, and per capita family income. Statistical analysis was carried out using Chi-square test. RESULTS: Vitamin A deficiency was identified in 29.0% of the subjects, 23.2% of the children presented stunting, and 8.7% were malnourished, according to the body mass index. In 63.1% of the subjects, inadequate ingestion of retinol sources was verified, while 78.8% of the subjects presented some type of intestinal parasite. Most school-children families (87.1%) had per capita monthly incomes bellow ¼ of the minimum wage; the rest of the families were situated respectively in the ranges: (10.4%)>¼ to <½ minimum wage; (2.1%) >½ to < 1 minimum wage; and ( 0.4 %) >1 minimum wage. CONCLUSION: Vitamin A deficiency among school children was found to be a public health problem in the studied area. Nonetheless, no significant statistic association between vitamin A deficiency and the factors selected as predisposing ones was observed.
Keywords : causality; Vitamin A deficiency; school children.