oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Impact of dietary iron intake on anaemia in Tanzanian schoolchildren
|Article Title||Impact of dietary iron intake on anaemia in Tanzanian schoolchildren|
|© Publisher:||Medpharm Publications|
|Journal||South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
|Author||Simon Tatala, Godwin Ndossi, Ulf Svanberg and Deborah Ash|
|Publication Date||Nov 2004|
|Pages||94 - 100|
Objective. To investigate the nutritional relationship between dietary intake and prevalence of anaemia among Tanzanian schoolchildren.
Methods. Dietary intakes of 101 schoolchildren aged 7 - 12 years were assessed using a pre-tested food frequency questionnaire. Haemoglobin (Hb), haematocrit, erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) and serum ferritin (SF) were used to determine their anaemia and iron status. Other socio-economic variables were collected using a profile questionnaire.
Results. Significantly lower intake of iron was seen in 48% of schoolchildren with Hb < 11.5 g/dl (anaemic) compared with those who were normal. Total iron intake was 22 + 7 and 27 + 13 mg/day respectively (p < 0.05). There was a general poor intake of iron from animal sources in all children. A higher iron intake was found in schoolchildren with normal iron status (by EP and SF levels) than in those who were not normal (26 + 11 mg/day v. 22 + 9 mg/day, p < 0.05). Iron deficiency was found in 45% of schoolchildren (N = 80) and 31% were categorised as having iron deficiency anaemia. The mean energy intake in boys was higher than in girls (2 150 + 770 v. 1 830 + 895 kcal/day respectively). Boys also had a higher intake of ascorbic acid (50 + 32 v. 31 + 23 mg/day, p >0.05). In stepwise multiple regression analysis, daily iron intake remained the most significant nutrient predicting for Hb status. There was a significant correlation between iron intake and serum ferritin (r = 0.233, p < 0.05).
Conclusion. Iron intake in this Tanzanian community is inadequate for maintaining normal iron nutrition. The factors contributing to the inadequacy include consumption of foods with low iron bioavailability. Food-based intervention should be one of the important strategies for reducing the magnitude of the problem of anaemia in this community.
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