oa Curationis - Prevalence of anaemia and its associated factors in African children at one and three years residing in the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province, South Africa : original research
Objective : The present study evaluated the prevalence of anaemia and its determinants in one- and three-year-old children from the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Methods : A prospective cohort study conducted in rural villages in the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province, South Africa. At birth, a cohort of 219 children was followed until they were one and three years of age. Data collected included the children's anthropometric measurements, blood for biochemical analysis (full blood count, ferritin, folate and vitamin B12) and socio-demographic status.
Results : At one year, anaemia (Hb < 11 g/dL) was present in 52% of the children, decreasing to 22% by the third year. Iron deficiency (ferritin < 12 µg/mL) was common in these children (39% and 33% at one year and three years, respectively) particularly in the presence of anaemia. Folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies (< 5 ng/mL and < 145 pg/mL, respectively) were common at one year, with the children accumulating enough vitamin B12 by three years; however, folate deficiency levels remained fairly constant between the two time points.
Conclusion : There was a high prevalence of anaemia in the study participants at one year and three years of age. Factors that increased the risk of anaemia at three years were: a mother with only a primary school education, anaemia at one year, male gender, overweight, and combined overweight and stunting. Protective factors against anaemia were having a younger mother who served as the main caregiver.
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