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Epidemiology and policy
P1-95 Is current policy for anaemia prevention in bedouin toddlers in the Negev appropriate?
  1. N Bilenko1,2,
  2. D Fraser1,3,
  3. M Tatikashvili4,
  4. I Belmaker2,3
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  2. 2Regional Office of Ministry of Health, Southern Region, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  3. 3S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  4. 4Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  5. 5Community Health Division, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Abstract

Introduction Iron deficiency anaemia still affects a quarter of the world's population increasing risk of infectious disease morbidity, impaired growth and mental development. According to current policy children undergo screening for iron deficiency anaemia at age 9–12M.

Methods Prospective Study The study population included Moslem Bedouin 2.5–3-Y-old children that followed from 6M in Well Baby Clinic. All parents of participants were interviewed during enrolment and monthly meetings. The blood samples were taken from children at enrolment and during last follow-up visit. Anaemia (Hb<11 g/dl) and Iron Deficiency Index (at least 2 of 6 abnormal indicators, including Haemoglobin, Haematocrit, Mean Corpuscular Volume, Red blood cell distribution Width, serum ferritin, and transferin saturation) were defined.

Results The study population included 180 infants. The mother's young age was found as a risk factor for mild anaemia. Male sex was associated with a higher rate of moderate anaemia compared with female sex (76.2% and 52.8%, respectively, p=0.043). Children with anaemia had lower average of dietary iron consumption than children with normal levels of Hb (p=0.009). Iron deficiency anaemia at age 6M was a significant and independent risk factor for toddlers' anaemia (OR=3.47, p<0.001) controlling for the mother's age, child gender and consumption of dietary iron.

Conclusion The most significant factor for anaemia among this population is iron deficiency anaemia at the age of 6M. Prevention, early detection (at age 6M) and appropriate treatment of anaemia in the first year of life are critical to prevent anaemia and its consequences later life.

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