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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 532-536

Contribution of malnutrition and malaria to anemia in children in rural communities of Edo state, Nigeria

1 Department of Medical microbiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
2 Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University Of technology, Ogbomosho, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Favour Osazuwa
Department of Medical microbiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background : The most common cause of anemia is an iron deficiency; however, the condition may also be caused by deficiencies in folate, vitamin B 12 and protein. Some anemia is not caused by nutritional factors, but by congenital factors and parasitic diseases such as malaria. Aim: This study attempted to estimate the prevalence of anemia among children in three rural communities of the Ovia North East Local government area, and to determine whether its cause was nutritional or could be attributed to malaria. Patients and Methods: A total of 316 children between the ages of 1 and 15 years were included in the study. Children were examined for malaria parasites by microscopy. The World Health Organization (WHO) age-adjusted cut-off for hemoglobin was used to classify anemia. Results: 38.6% of the children were anemic, with hemoglobin levels lower than 11g/dL, although parasite prevalence and density were low. Malnutrition was patent; 37.0% of the children were stunted, 19.3% wasted and 44.0% underweight. Serum ferritin was more sensitive than hemoglobin concentration in detecting anemic children. Anemia was also significantly higher in the Evbuomore village school than in the Ekosodin and Isiohor villages (P<</i>0.001). Conclusion: Anemia detected in this population may be due more to malnutrition than to malaria.

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