Iron deficiency anaemia and adverse dietary habits in hospitalised children.N Z Med J. 1999 Jun 11; 112(1089):203-6.NZ
To determine the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in children hospitalised with acute illness and the frequency of adverse dietary habits in the children with iron deficiency anaemia.
This was a prospective study of all children, aged 9 to 23 months resident in metropolitan Auckland who were hospitalised at Starship Children's Hospital, from July to October 1997, with an acute medical illness and had a full blood count performed. Iron deficiency anaemia was defined as haemoglobin <110 g/L, red cell distribution width >14.5% and either serum ferritin <10 microg/L or transferrin saturation <10%. Ethnicity and dietary habits of the children were determined by interviewing parents.
During the study period 284 children, aged 9 to 23 months were admitted, of whom 206 (73%) had a full blood count performed. Sixty (29%) of these 206 children had iron deficiency anaemia. A larger proportion of Pacific Islands (P) compared to Maori (M) or European children (E) had iron deficiency anaemia. (P vs M:43% vs 21%, p=0.01; P vs E:43% vs 14%, p<0.001; M vs E 21% vs 14%, P=0.27). Sixty-nine percent of the children with iron deficiency anaemia had a dietary factor (early introduction of cows milk, late introduction of meat or regular consumption of tea) likely to have contributed to their iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency is prevalent in Auckland children aged 9 to 23 months, hospitalised with an acute illness. The prevalence varies with ethnicity. Adverse dietary habits are present in 69% of the children with iron deficiency anaemia.