Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
OLIVEIRA, Rejane Santana de et al. Magnitude, geographic distribution and trends of anemia in preschoolers, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.1, pp. 26-32. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102002000100005.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the magnitude, geographical distribution and trends of the prevalence of nutritional anemia among preschoolers and to identify risk groups in the state of Paraiba, Brazil. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey with multistage random sampling procedure was conducted in 8 urban municipalities of three mid-regions (Zona da Mata, Agreste and Sertão) in the state of Paraíba in 1992. A total of 1,287 preschoolers of both sexes were selected. Hemoglobin was determined by the cyanometahemoglobin method in venous blood, employing <11 g/dl as the cut-off for anemia. Statistical analysis of proportions employed the chi Square test, whereas for means Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis were the choice, all with confidence interval of 95%.. RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia was 36.4% (CI 33.7¾39.1) in the state of Paraiba, greater (p=0.00) than that observed (19.3%, CI 17.3¾21.5) in 1982. Only 1.0% (CI 0.61¾1.8) and 6.8% (CI 5.5¾8.3) of anemia cases were classified as severe and moderate, respectively. Boys presented lower mean hemoglobin concentration (p=0.00), and children under age 3 comprised the biological group of highest susceptibility for deficiency status (p= 0.00). It was found that the second year of life is the most critical for developing nutritional deficiency (p= 0.00). The Agreste mid-region revealed to be the geographical area of highest risk (p= 0.00), outlining a new epidemiological dynamics when compared to the year 1982, when the drought-ridden Sertão region were the geographical area at greatest risk of deficiency. CONCLUSIONS: According to international epidemiological criteria, anemia in the studied regions represents a public health problem of moderate degree Assuming the analytical comparability of the 1982 and 1992 cross-sectional surveys, it suggests an increasingly prevalence of nutritional anemia (+88.5%) in all 3 mid-regions in a 10-year-period (1982-92).
Keywords : Anaemia [epidemiology]; Residence characteristics; Hemoglobins [analysis]; Pre-school children; Prevalence; Age distribution; Sex distribution.