Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in infants and young children remains a significant public health problem in most developing countries. IDA had short and long-term adverse impacts on infants' health and development. We aimed to assess the frequency of IDA and associated risk factors among infants aged between 9-12 months in rural areas of Nablus Governorate.
A cross-sectional study.
The study was conducted between Jan and Mar 2015. A random sample of 654 infants aged 9-12 months were selected from thirty villages in Nablus Governorate, Central Highlands of the West Bank, north of Jerusalem. Data were collected using pre-designed structured interviewing questionnaire, complete blood count analysis and anthropometric measurements were done.
The prevalence of anemia and IDA among infants was 34.6%, and 32.6%, respectively. Predictors of IDA were increased in infants' age OR=1.19 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.40), maternal anemia during the third trimester OR=2.39 (95% CI: 1.55, 3.71), birth spacing less than three years OR=2.86 (95%CI: 1.58, 5.18), exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months OR=2.40 (95% CI: 1.46, 3.95), early OR=1.64 (95%CI: 1.03, 2.613) and late introduction of complementary feeding OR=2.26 (95% CI: 1.27, 4.05), and non-compliance to iron supplement in the correct frequency and duration during pregnancy OR=1.81 (95% CI: 1.19, 2.75).
Different dietary and non-dietary risk factors for IDA should be considered for any intervention aimed to reduce the prevalence of IDA among infants.