Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Refugee Children from Burma
ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA MILITARY NUTRITION DIV
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Iron-deficiency anemia IDA in refugees is reported to be among the major medical problems worldwide. Because food rations are typically inadequate in iwn, long-term reliance is a key predictor of anemia among displaced people. Comprehensive nutritional assessments of refugee children from Burma have not previously been completed. Refugee children aged 6-59 mo were studied to determine 1 the prevalences of anemia, iron deficiency ID and IDA and 2 the factors associated with anemia and ID. Cluster sampling in three camps and convenience sampling in two additional camps were used. Hemoglobin Hb levels were measured and imol zinc protoporphyrinmol heme were determined in 975 children. Logistic regression analyses 95 Cl determined predictors of anemia and ID. The prevalences of IDA, anemia and ID in these refugee children were 64.9, 72.0 and 85.4, respectively. Predictors of anemia included young age P 0.001, food ration lasting 1 mo P 0.001, daily consumption of dietary iron inhibitors P 0.05. weight-for-height Z-score of -2 P 0.05, male gender P 0.05 and uneducated father P 0.001. Predictors of ID were young age P 0.001 and recently reported illness P 0.05. Laboratory tests confirmed that anemia and ID are major health problems among these refugee children and that ID is the leading cause of anemia. A comprehensive nutrition and public health-focused approach to combating anemia and ID is essential. Following the presentation of results to policy makers, the improvement of the micronutrient content of rations has been initiated.
- Food, Food Service and Nutrition
- Inorganic Chemistry