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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

SILVA, Loraine Storch Meyer da; GIUGLIAN, Elsa Regina Justo  and  AERTS, Denise Rangel Ganzo de Castro. Prevalence and risk factors for anemia among children in Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.35, n.1, pp. 66-73. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102001000100010.

OBJECTIVE: To verify the prevalence of anemia among children aged 0 to 36 months, who attend public day care centers in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and assess its possible risk factors. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out in 557 children aged 0 to 36 months of all public day care centers in Porto Alegre. Anthropometric measurements and hemoglobin levels were performed. The portable HemoCue photometer was employed to measure hemoglobin levels, and anemia was considered when the hemoglobin level was below 11 g/dl. Information regarding each child was obtained by means of a questionnaire applied to the mother. The association of the variables studied to anemia was analyzed using the log-binomial regression technique applied to the hierarchical model. RESULTS: A 47.8% prevalence of anemia was found in this population. The risk factors for anemia in the studied group were: families with per capita income equal or less than one monthly minimal wage (prevalence ratio ¾ RP =1.6), age between 12 and 23 months (RP=1.4), and having 2 or more siblings younger than 5 years old (RP=1.4). CONCLUSIONS: There is a high prevalence of anemia among children aged 0 to 36 months in public day care centers, especially among children with the lowest socioeconomic level, in the 12 to 23 months age group, and who have 2 or more siblings under 5 years of age, indicating that there is an urgent need for effective measures to fight and prevent this condition.

Keywords : Anemia [epidemiology]; Anemia, iron deficiency [epidemiology]; Risk factors; Child day care centers; Nutritional anemias; Cross sectional studies; Socioeconomic factors; Breastfeeding; Infant nutrition; Birth weight; Weight age; Height weight.

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