OBJECTIVE: To identify the proportion and distribution of iron-deficiency anemia according to pubertal stage in patients seen at an outpatient clinic for adolescents and compare cutoff values normally used in adolescence for this diagnosis. METHODS: This retrospective study reviewed 453 medical records of patients seen from January to December 2003 at the Centro de Atendimento e Apoio ao Adolescente of the Pediatrics Department of the Federal University of São Paulo, Escola Paulista de Medicina (Adolescent Medicine Clinic from the Federal University of São Paulo). Of these, 215 (47.0%) were males and 238 (53%) were females. The Kappa and McNemar tests were used to assess the agreement and disagreement between two distinct criteria; the Student's "t"-test was used to determine differences in hemoglobin and hematometric values between anemic and non-anemic patients; the Mann-Whitney test was used to compare hematocrit values. RESULTS: According to the adopted criteria, the proportion of anemia in the population was 7.50% (n=34) and 6.84% (n=31). Considering pubertal stage and gender, a higher proportion was found among females with breast stage 3 (30.00%) and 4 (50.00%) and among males with genital stage 3 (40.00%). Both criteria were in agreement. CONCLUSION: The proportion of anemia is relevant, although low. The agreement obtained between the proposed values shows that it is possible to use any of the criteria. Anemia predominates among females with breast stages 3 and 4, justified by the higher need of iron and menstrual losses that occur in these stages, respectively; in males, the higher proportion in stage 3 (growth spurt) may suggest that iron stores were already depleted before they entered puberty.
anemia; iron-deficiency; adolescent; puberty; ambulatory care