Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
SANTOS, Iná dos et al. Prevalence of anemia and associated factors among children under six years of age in Pelotas, South Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2004, vol.7, n.4, pp. 403-415. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2004000400004.
OBJECTIVES: to determine the prevalence of and investigate factors associated with anemia among children under six years of age, assisted by the Pastoral da Criança in Pelotas, South Brazil. METHODS: during the screening phase of a community intervention, selected children were studied through a cross-sectional approach. At the household level, after informed consent, mothers were interviewed on demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the family, child health, characteristics at birth, breast-feeding, and weekly frequency of food consumption. Children were weighed and had their height measured. A portable Hemocue photometer was used for determining the hemoglobin level in capillary blood samples. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin concentration below 11g/dl. Because of the high prevalence of anemia, analyses of association with independent variables were carried out through Poisson regression. Adjusted analyses followed a hierarchical model previously defined. RESULTS: Among 362 selected children, hemoglobin was determined for 304 (84.0%). The prevalence of anemia was 53.0% (95%CI 47.2%-58.7%). Risk factors for anemia were: young age, non-white skin color, large family, and low social class (E compared to D). Higher weight at birth and availability of drinking water at the household level were protective factors for anemia. CONCLUSION: the findings of this study show that the prevalence of anemia is high among the Pastoral da Criança target population, with a large number of risk factors and some protective factors indicating an urgent need for preventive interventions.
Keywords : Iron deficiency; Iron-deficiency anemia; Risk factors; Pastoral da Criança.