Are vitamin A and iron deficiencies re-emerging in urban Latin America? A survey of schoolchildren in Bogota, Colombia.Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Jun; 30(2):103-11.FN
In Latin America, the burden of vitamin A and iron deficiencies has been documented primarily in preschool-age children. There are few recent reports on the vitamin A and iron status of school-age children.
We aimed to determine the prevalence and predictors of vitamin A and iron deficiencies in Colombian schoolchildren.
We examined plasma retinol and ferritin concentrations in relation to socioeconomic and anthropometric factors in a representative sample of 2811 low- and middle-income children 5 to 12 years of age in Bogotá, Colombia.
The prevalence rates of deficiencies of vitamin A (plasma retinol < 0.70 micromol/L) and iron (plasma ferritin <15 microg/L) were 14% and 3%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, plasma retinol concentrations were positively associated with child's age and household's socioeconomic stratum, whereas ferritin concentrations were positively related to child's age, number of home assets, and having a nonsingle mother. Ferritin concentrations were much lower among girls than boys in the 11- and 12-year-old age group, whereas there were only small positive differences between girls and boys in younger children (p for interaction < .0001). Both vitamin A and iron deficiencies were independently associated with lower z-scores for body-mass-index-for-age, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors and C-reactive protein concentrations. Neither vitamin A nor iron status was related to height-for-age.
The prevalence rates of vitamin A and iron deficiencies among schoolchildren from Bogotd, Colombia, are not negligible. Both vitamin A and iron status are positively associated with socioeconomic status and anthropometric indices. The effect of improving vitamin A and iron status on physical growth and other functional outcomes needs to be further examined in this age group.