JOURNAL ARTICLE

Coexisting micronutrient deficiencies among Sri Lankan pre-school children: a community-based study

Manjula Hettiarachchi, Chandrani Liyanage
Maternal & Child Nutrition 2012, 8 (2): 259-66
21166995
Assessing micronutrient status in children may also have the benefit of addressing the problems of various micronutrient deficiencies with a unified programmatic approach on a public health scale. A cross-sectional survey in the Galle district of the micronutrient and anthropometric status of 248 children of ages 3-5 years was performed to determine the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies [iron, zinc (Zn), folate, calcium, caeruloplasmin, iodine, vitamin A and vitamin D] and the extent to which multiple micronutrient deficiencies coexist. The prevalence of anaemia [haemogbolin (Hb) < 110.0 g L⁻¹] was 34.0% in males and 33.0% in females (overall 33.5%, gender difference, P = 0.92). In anaemic children, 7.0% of males and 15.0% of females were iron deficient (serum ferritin < 15.0 µg L⁻¹). Folate deficiency (<3.00 ng mL⁻¹) was found in 41.0% and 33.0% of male and female, respectively, whereas Zn deficiency (<9.95 µmol L⁻¹) occurred in 57.0% and 50.0% of male and female, respectively. Serum vitamin D deficiency (<35.0 nmol L⁻¹) was found in 26% and 25% of male and female, respectively. Anaemic males had a 3.0-fold (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-8.3) and 2.3-fold (95% CI 0.8-6.6) greater risk of being underweight and thin, whereas the risk among anaemic females was 0.7-fold (95% CI 0.3-1.8) and 0.9-fold (95% CI 0.3-2.6) for being underweight and thin. Only 7.3% of the subjects did not have any micronutrient deficiency, 38.3% were deficient in two micronutrients, 17.7% had three micronutrient deficiencies and 6.0% had four or more micronutrient deficiencies. Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent in Sri Lankan pre-school children and established baseline data for future studies.

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