To identify the prevalence and factors associated with anemia in children attending Municipal Early Childhood Education Day Care Center (Centros Municipais de Educação Infantil [CMEI]) nurseries in Colombo-PR.
Analytical, cross-sectional study with a representative sample of 334 children obtained by stratified cluster sampling, with random selection of 26 nurseries. Data collection was conducted through interviews with parents, assessment of iron intake by direct food weighing, and hemoglobin measurement using the finger-stick test. Bivariate association tests were performed followed by multiple logistic regression adjustment.
The prevalence of anemia was 34.7%. Factors associated with anemia were: maternal age younger than 28 years old (p = 0.03), male children (p = 0.02), children younger than 24 months (p = 0.01), and children who did not consume iron food sources (meat + beans + dark green leafy vegetables) (p = 0.02). There was no association between anemia and iron food intake in CMEI. However, iron intake was well below the recommended levels according to the National Education Development Fund resolution, higher prevalence of anemia was observed in children whose intake of iron, heme iron, and nonheme iron was below the median.
In terms of public health, the prevalence of anemia is characterized as a moderate problem in the studied population and demonstrates the need for coordination of interdisciplinary actions for its reduction in CMEI nurseries.
Anemia; Risk factors; Infant nutrition; Iron