High Prevalence of Vitamin A Deficiency in School Age Children in Benin City
One hundred and fifty two children aged 6 to 12 years were randomly selected from10 out of 33 public primary schools in a Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria, to assess their plasma Vitamin A levels. Bessey’s spectrophotometric method of ultraviolet destruction of vitamin A was used for determination of their plasma vitamin A levels. Their mean plasma vitamin A level was 27.7±12.4μg/dl., with a range of 10-64μg/dl. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (plasma retinol <20μg/dl) was 29.6%. There was no subject with severe vitamin A deficiency (plasma retinol < 10μg/dl). This study shows that there is still a high level of vitamin A deficiency, in this part of Nigeria, as has been reported from other parts of this country, that is of public health importance. Furthermore, the results emphasise that vitamin A deficiency is not restricted to <5s, but also to children of school age group. Programmes at reducing vitamin A deficiency in this country should therefore incorporate children in this age group.
Keywords: Vitamin A deficiency, School aged children, Prevalence