Prevalence of iron deficiency in children 6-24 months in Lagos

I B Fajolu, O A Grange, J K Renner, N W Odunukwe, O F Njokanma, O A Ahmed, C Efenemokwu
Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Hospital Medicine 2007, 17 (3): 97-100

BACKGROUND: Iron deficiency is the commonest cause of nutritional anaemia in children worldwide particularly in developing countries. Infants and toddlers are prone to developing iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of IDA and some factors associated with it in this group of children.

STUDY DESIGN: Haemoglobin concentration and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) estimations carried out in 282 apparently well children aged 6-24 months. Estimations of serum iron (SI), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), serum ferritin (SF) and transferrin saturation (TS) were also determined in children with anaemia (Hb concentration < 11.0 g/dl). Information on current diet was also obtained using a diet record.

RESULTS: Two hundred and twenty three (79.1%) children had anaemia. The mean Hb concentrations of all the age groups were less than 11.0 g/dl. Forty (14.9%) children had IDA (defined as aneamia plus 2 or more of the following--MCV < 70fl, Ts < 10% or SF < 10 microg/dL). The mean age of children with IDA (8.96 +/- 2.54 months) was statistically lower than for those without the condition 10.94 +/- 4.55 months (p = 0.016). Inclusion of vegetables and animal protein less than three times a week in the diet were both significantly associated with IDA.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of IDA in this study is high especially before the age of 12 months and an average weekly intake less than 3 times a week or iron rich foods like animal protein and vegetables was significantly associated with IDA. Emphasis should be on the inclusion of iron rich foods in the diet following exclusive breastfeeding to reduce the prevalence of IDA in these children.

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