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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Abstract

KASSAYE, Tarik; RECEVEUR, Olivier; JOHNS, Timothy  and  BECKLAKE, Margaret R.. Prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in children aged 6-9 years in Wukro, northern Ethiopia. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2001, vol.79, n.5, pp. 415-422. ISSN 0042-9686.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0042-96862001000500008.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in children aged 6-9 years in northern Ethiopia. METHODS:A cross-sectional study was carried out and the data were analysed for 824 (61.5%) of 1339 eligible children for whom there was complete information on biochemical vitamin A status, dietary vitamin A intake, ocular examination for xerophthalmia, and anthropometry. FINDINGS: The prevalence of xerophthalmia was 5.8%; serum retinol levels were below 0.35 mmol/l and between 0.35 and 0.70 mmol/l in 8.4% and 51.1% of the children respectively. The liver vitamin A reserve (modified relative dose response ratio > 0.06) was low in 41.0% of the children. CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of severe vitamin A deficiency in children aged 6-9 years indicates the need to re-evaluate the practice of targeting vitamin A supplementation programmes on children under 6 years of age in areas where vitamin A deficiency is endemic.

Keywords : Vitamin A deficiency [epidemiology]; Vitamin A [administration and dosage]; Vitamin A [blood]; Xerophthalmia [etiology]; Child; Cross-sectional studies; Ethiopia.

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