Lipid-soluble antioxidants status and some of its socio-economic determinants among pregnant Ethiopians at the third trimester

Yared Wondmikun
Public Health Nutrition 2005, 8 (6): 582-7

OBJECTIVE: To determine the serum levels of three lipid-soluble antioxidants (retinol, beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol) in pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic (ANC) in Gondar, Ethiopia.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study involving laboratory determination of serum levels of retinol, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene using high-performance liquid chromatography and questionnaire-based assessment of socio-economic status.

SETTING: ANC of a university teaching hospital.

SUBJECTS: Three hundred and twenty-two healthy pregnant women in their third trimester, who attended the ANC.

RESULTS: Mean serum levels of retinol, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene were found to be 1.23+/-0.5, 25.5+/-0.9 and 0.21+/-0.09 micromol l(-1), respectively. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (<1.05 micromol l(-1)) among pregnant women was 38.5%. Women having low retinol (vitamin A) levels were highly likely to live in earth-floored and mud-walled houses, and less likely to own a house and to have a latrine.

CONCLUSION: The study shows that serum levels of lipid-soluble antioxidants were low among ANC attendees in northern Ethiopia. It also indicates that some socio-economic factors (such as poor housing standard) are associated with vitamin A deficiency.

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