JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Risk factors for anemia in infants assisted by public health services: the importance of feeding practices and iron supplementation.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate risk factors for anemia in infants assisted by public health services.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional study carried out in Viçosa, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, 205 children from 6 to 12 months were evaluated. Socioeconomic, environmental and biological data were collected, as well as information on child's birth, nutritional status, maternal data, child health care practices, feeding practices, and iron supplementation. Diagnosis of anemia was based on hemoglobin levels under 11 g/dL, using a portable Hemocue photometer. To analyze variables associated with anemia, a hierarchical logistic regression model was used.

RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia was 57.6%. Family income per capita less than 0.5 minimum wage, frequency of fruit intake less than daily and lack of iron supplementation increased the chance of anemia among infants.

CONCLUSION: Adequate health and nutrition support to low income families, promotion of healthy nutritional habits and prescription of iron supplements are of great importance to prevent and manage anemia in infants assisted by public health services.

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