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.
Mauricio 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
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.
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.
concluded that the indigenous Brazilian
children were twice more vulnerable to anemia than the non-indigenous children
of the same age group
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