Anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency across the globe especially in children and women of reproductive age. It occurs when there is deficiency of red blood cells. Caused, generally, due to deficiency of iron, folic acid or vitamin B12, it is more a symptom of disease rather than disease itself. The cognitive development, performance in school, growth and immunity of children is adversely affected by the deficiency of iron in the body.
In Brazil, the nutritional status of children is poor and needs immediate attention, according to the World Health Organization data.
AdvertisementMauricio Leite and colleagues, at Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, assessed the nutritional status of indigenous Brazilian children and the results were published in BMC Nutrition Journal 2013.
Past studies have suggested that actual incidences of anemia are higher than those documented for the national population records. The prevalence of anemia in children below five years is 50 to 60 percent more than that mentioned in records.
Around one-fifth of Brazilian children under the age group of five years are anemic. In 2008-2009, the First National Survey of Indigenous People's Health and Nutrition in Brazil was done to analyze the occurrence of anemia and related factors in indigenous Brazilian kids.
The scientists conducted a 'stratified probabilistic sampling for indigenous villages'.
The nutritional and health status of the children below the age of five years was analyzed and reviewed. The samples of 'under five years children' were collected from the household of the indigenous villages.
The hemoglobin percentage was assessed in 5,397 children and 51.2 percent of these children were found to have anemia.
The survey results showed that anemia was high in boys and factors such as poor maternal schooling, low socioeconomic status, presence of maternal anemia, improper sanitary conditions and anthropometric deficits, worsened the situation.
The prevalence of anemia was noted to be high in the North region of Brazil.
The scientists concluded that the indigenous Brazilian children were twice more vulnerable to anemia than the non-indigenous children of the same age group.
Besides Brazil, similar occurrences of anemia have been seen in indigenous and non-indigenous children of other countries as well.
The experts suggested that further research about the etiology of anemia is essential to find out its high frequency among the indigenous children of Brazil. With advanced knowledge adequate treatment and prevention would be possible.
Prevalence of anemia and associated factors among indigenous children in Brazil: results from the First National Survey of Indigenous People's Health and Nutrition; Mauricio et al; BMC Nutrition Journal 2013