Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
SANTOS, Célia Dias dos et al. Anemia in public school first graders in the city of Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.18, n.6, pp.1757-1763. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2002000600030.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in a representative sample of 426 randomly selected first graders (ages 6 to 10 years) from public schools in Maceió, State of Alagoas, Brazil. The aim was to determine the prevalence of anemia, as well as its association with growth retardation. Data were collected from May to July 2000, and determination of hemoglobin (HGB) employed an STKS Coulter counter. Two cut-off points were used to classify anemia, both established by the World Health Organization: HGB < 11.5g/dl and HGB < 12.0g/dl. The indicators height/age (H/A), weight/age (W/A), and weight/height (W/H) below -2.0 standard deviations from the NCHS reference were diagnosed as growth retardation. Prevalence of anemia was 9.9% when HGB < 11.5g/dl was used, and 25.4% when the cut-off point was HGB < 12.0g/dl. Growth retardation was detected in 6.2% of children according to H/A, 4.0% for W/A, and 3.0% for W/H. There was no statistically significant association between the variables in the study. These findings confirm results of previous surveys where prevalence of anemia was much higher than that of growth retardation. The severe consequences of anemia in this age group justify the implementation of broad public policies to overcome this nutritional deficiency.
Keywords : Anemia; School Health; Cross-Sectional Studies.