INTRODUCTION: Anemia is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the world.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of anemia among infants receiving routine health care in the Hacettepe University Ihsan Doğramacı Children's Hospital Well Baby Clinic in Ankara, Turkey, we conducted a cross-sectional study by using data from 469 healthy infants who had data available on their hemoglobin values at 6 months of age for the last 3 years.
METHODS: Infants with acute or chronic illness or thalassemia and infants who had taken or were taking iron supplementation at the time were not included in the study. Information regarding the children was obtained from hospital files. Infants with a hemoglobin level of <10.5 and <9.5 g/dL were considered to be mildly and moderately anemic, respectively, at 6 months of age.
RESULTS: The mean level of hemoglobin was 10.7 g/dL (SD: 0.90). The prevalence of anemia was 41.4%. Boys had significantly lower hemoglobin and hematocrit levels and mean corpuscular volume than girls. Infants born before 37 weeks' gestational age had moderate anemia more frequently. Infants born in spring or summer had anemia more frequently than those born in fall or winter (49.2% and 26.8%, respectively; P < .001). Birth weight and monthly weight gain from 6 to 9 months were positively correlated with hemoglobin value at 6 months (r = 0.14, P = .003 and r = 0.10, P = .041, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Anemic infants aged 6 months had an increased risk of developing growth failure from 6 to 9 months. In this study, the prevalence of anemia observed was of severe public health significance and justifies the need to emphasize, in prenatal and infant health programs, intervention measures that consider season of birth for anemia control.
Submitted by Songul Yalcin
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics