Zinc Deficiency Is Associated with Anemia Among Children Under 24 Months-of-age in Rural Guatemala (P10-111-19).
Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 Jun ;3(Suppl 1). Epub 2019 Jun 13. PMID: 31225086
Objectives: Anemia is a major public health problem among young children. In addition to iron deficiency, other micronutrient deficiencies have been associated with anemia. The purpose of this study was to identify biomarkers associated with anemia in children <5 years from rural Guatemala.
Methods: A total of 182 infants (6-24 m) and 207 preschoolers (36-60 m) were recruited from community surveillance to participate in a randomized controlled trial of nutrition and child development. Methods included measured weight, length/height and venous blood draws. Inclusion criteria were length/height-for-age z-score <-1.0 and Hb >7.0 g/dL. Cross-sectional analyses using generalized linear mixed models of baseline data examined associations between anemia (Hb <11.0 g/dL) and micronutrient deficiencies, adjusting for maternal, child and sociodemographic variables. Iron deficiency was defined as low ferritin based on inflammation status, and/or high soluble transferrin receptor, ≥1.97 mg/L. Deficiencies for other parameters were designated as: zinc <65µg/dL; vitamin B12 < 200 pg/mL; and plasma folate <3 ng/mL or erythrocyte folate <100 ng/mL.
Results: Prevalence of anemia was 56% in infants and 12% in preschoolers. Among anemic infants/preschoolers, rates of iron, zinc, folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies were 83/75%; 63/18%; 3/4%; and 9/0%, respectively. For infants, the odds of anemia were higher when children were zinc deficient [OR = 3.59;95%CI (1.64-7.85)], after adjusting for community cluster, sex, age, maternal education and household size. No biomarkers were associated with anemia in preschoolers.
Conclusions: Iron and zinc are common micronutrient deficiencies in children from low- and middle-income countries. These findings suggest that micronutrient deficiencies coexist among children in Guatemala, and that zinc should be considered as part of the prevention strategies to reduce anemia. In preschoolers, no biomarkers were associated with anemia, suggesting that other biological and psychosocial factors could be influencing anemia in this age group.
Funding Sources: The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science of the New York Academy of Sciences.