Iron deficiency, its epidemiological features and feeding practices among infants aged 12 months in Qatar: a cross-sectional study.BMJ Open. 2018 05 09; 8(5):e020271.BO
To estimate the magnitude of anaemia, iron deficiency (ID), iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and to explore epidemiological features of ID and feeding practices among infants aged 12 months in Qatar.
Well baby clinics in 14 randomly selected primary healthcare centres covering all geographical areas on the national level.
Three hundred and six (163 male and 143 female) infants of all nationalities were enrolled. Mothers were asked to complete a predesigned interview questionnaire and infants were blood tested for anaemia, ID and IDA.
Cut-off point used to diagnose anaemia was haemoglobin <11.1 g/dL, and to diagnose ID, serum ferritin <6 ug/L with normal C reactive protein.
Prevalence of anaemia was 23.5%, ID was 9.2% and IDA was 7.8%. ID was more prevalent among non-Qatari infants compared with Qatari (10.9% vs1.7%, p=0.029), more prevalent among infants born to housewives and to families of low income (p≤0.05). With regard to feeding practice, ID was higher in infants who continued breastfeeding until the age of 1 year and among those who never took infant formula milk (p≤0.05). Mothers who received infant feeding counselling had less ID occurrence among their infants compared with their counterparts who did not receive such counselling (4.2%vs13.4%, p=0.005).
Although ID and IDA among infants in Qatar are less prevalent compared with many developing countries, still further efforts are needed for improvement towards more developed countries. Efforts should be contextualised and should target the key epidemiological features with special emphasis on infant feeding and infant feeding counselling to mothers.