Vitamin A deficiency and associated factors in preschoolers from the outskirts of La Plata, Buenos Aires

Liliana Disalvo, Ana Varea, Natalia Matamoros, Agustina Malpeli, María V Fasano, Horacio F González
Archivos Argentinos de Pediatría 2019 February 1, 117 (1): 19-25

INTRODUCTION: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) has been recognized as an important public health problem in developing countries. Preschoolers account for risk groups within vulnerable populations. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of VAD and associated factors in a sample of preschoolers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional study with children aged 1-6 years receiving social assistance and seen at primary health care centers in the outskirts of the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires. Vitamin A levels were determined by measuring serum retinol with a liquid chromatography; anthropometric parameters and dietary intake were recorded. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to assess the association among outcome measures.

RESULTS: Data from 624 children were analyzed. The geometric mean of retinol was 23.8 pg/dL (95 % CI: 23.3-24.3). The prevalence of VAD and the risk for VAD were 24.3 % and 57.4 %, respectively. Retinol levels were significantly lower among boys, low-weight children, and those with low intake (below the first tertile of distribution). The multivariate analysis showed a significant association between VAD and male sex (odds ratio: 1.93; 95 % CI: 1.15-3.24) and between VAD and low intake (odds ratio: 1.48; 95 % CI: 1.15-2.62).

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of VAD (24.3 %) is a major public health problem in this population. VAD-associated factors were male sex and low vitamin A intake.

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