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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


BRUNKEN, Gisela Soares; MUNIZ, Pascoal Torres  and  SILVA, Solanyara Maria da. Weekly iron supplementation reduces anemia prevalence by 1/3 in preschool children. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2004, vol.7, n.2, pp.210-219. ISSN 1415-790X.

A weekly medication scheme, followed by nutritional guidance on diets in child-care centers, was evaluated in order to make it feasible for routine use. The study was conducted in six child-care centers in the town of Cuiabá - Brazil. The supplement (6 mg/kg) was provided on a weekly basis to all children (n=178) less than three years old during four months at the institution by the classroom staff. After this initial phase, nutritional guidance was provided regarding the child-care center's normal diet as a way to control hemoglobin levels. This is an intervention study whose individuals were examined at three different periods: at the beginning of treatment (T0); after four months of iron supplementation (T1) and after five months of nutritional guidance (T2). Hemoglobin measurements were obtained using a portable hemoglobinometer - HemoCue. A significant improvement was observed in the hemoglobin levels of anemic children after controlling for age and initial hemoglobin. The hemoglobin concentration of these children improved an average of 0.1 g/l after each dose of iron sulfate. At the end of four months there was an average gain of 1.6 g/l, and prevalence of anemia reduced by 1/3, sufficient to meet the United Nations target adopted by Brazil. At the end of nine months (four months of weekly drug intervention followed by 5 months of nutritional guidance) the prevalence of anemia dropped by 1/4 in the child-care centers. The intervention proved to be feasible for child-care centers and pre-school population.

Keywords : Iron-deficiency anemia [PC]; Dietary supplements; Infant; Preschool child; Child daycare centers.

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