Iron-deficiency anemia and associated factors among preschool children in Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil

ABSTRACT Objective: Study the prevalence of iron depletion and iron-deficiency anemia and their associated factors in preschool children. Methods: Cross-sectional study with five-year old preschool children from a birth cohort of the city of Diamantina, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Socioeconomic, demographic, and dietary characteristics were obtained through a questionnaire administered to each child mother or guardian. Iron depletion (normal hemoglobin and low serum ferritin levels) and iron-deficiency anemia (hemoglobin level than 11g/dL) were detected after collecting 5mL of venous blood of preschool children. Poisson regression was used to identify the factors associated with iron depletion and iron-deficiency anemia. Results: A total of 228 preschool were evaluated, corresponding to 97.4% of the children from a cohort study followed-up up to the end of their first year of life. Iron depletion and iron-deficiency anemia were detected, respectively, in 15.9% and 18.9% of the preschool children evaluated. Iron depletion was not associated with any variable studied, while low maternal education level was associated with iron-deficiency anemia (PR=1.83; P=0.03). Conclusion: Iron-deficiency anemia is considered as a mild public health problem among 5-year old children in the city of Diamantina, Minas Gerais. Higher maternal education level was a protective factor against this deficiency, and therefore it is as an important marker for the occurrence of iron-deficiency anemia in the population studied.