Breastfeeding and the anthropometric profile of children with sickle cell anemia receiving follow-up in a newborn screening reference service

Zeni Drubi Nogueira Ney Boa-Sorte Maria Efigênia de Queiroz Leite Márcia Miyuki Kiya Tatiana Amorim Silvana Fahel da Fonseca About the authors


To study the breastfeeding history (BF) and the anthropometric status of children with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).


A cross-sectional study of 357 children with SCD aged between 2 and 6 years, regularly followed at a Newborn Screening Reference Service (NSRS) between November 2007 and January 2009. The outcome was anthropometric status and the exposures were: BF pattern, type of hemoglobinopathy and child's age and gender.


The mean (SD) age was 3.7 (1.1) years, 52.9% were boys and 53.5% had SCA (hemoglobin SS). The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding (EBR) up to six months of age was 31.5%, the median EBR times (p25-p75) was 90.0 (24.0-180.0) days and the median weaning ages (p25-p75) was 360.0 (90.0-720.0) days respectively. Normal W/H children experienced EBR for a mean duration almost four times longer than malnourished children (p=0.01), and were weaned later (p<0.05). Height deficit was found in 5.0% of children, while all the children with severe short stature had had SCA (hemoglobin SS) and were older than 4 years of age.


EBF time and weaning age were greater than that found in the literature, which is a possible effect of the multidisciplinary follow-up. Duration of EBF and later weaning were associated with improved anthropometric indicators.

Breast-feeding; Nutritional status; Sickle cell anemia; Hemoglobin SC disease; Neonatal screening

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