Anaemia, vitamin-A deficiency, anthropometric nutritional status and associated factors among young school children in Kodzobi, Ghana, a peri-urban community
Anaemia, vitamin-A deficiency and under nutrition are prevalent among children at levels of public health significance in developing countries of which Ghana is no exception. The objective of this study was to assess the anaemia, low vitamin-A level and anthropometric nutritional status of 162 randomly selected young Ghanaian school children 4 – 8 years in Kodzobi, a peri-urban community and establish associated factors. Questionnaires were used to collect background data from parents of study participants. Vitamin-A and haemoglobin concentrations were determined using High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Haemocue hemoglobinometer, respectively. Malaria parasitaemia was examined by the Giemsa staining technique. Weight and height measurements were taken according to WHO’s standard procedures to assess participants’ nutritional status. The mean haemoglobin and serum retinol concentrations were 11.6 ± 1.1 g/dl and 22.8 ± 6.5 μg/dl, respectively. Prevalence of anaemia and vitamin-A deficiency among study participants were 38.3 % and 24.0 %, respectively. The prevalence of underweight, stunting, thinness and overweight were 9.3 %, 9.9 %, 4.3 % and 3.7 %, respectively. Haemoglobin correlated positively and significantly with weight, weight-for-age and body mass index-for-age z scores. Child’s sex, vitamin-A status and parental monthly income associated with anaemia status. Females had a higher risk of being anaemic compared to males (OR = 2.519; 95 % CI: 0.965 - 6.580; p = 0.049). Participants with normal vitamin-A concentration were at lower risk of being anaemic (OR = 0.302; 95 % CI: 0.109 - 0.840; p = 0.022) than those with low vitamin-A concentration. Anaemia and young child age negatively associated with vitamin-A status, at p = 0.039 and p = 0.037, respectively. Anaemia and vitamin-A deficiency are issues of public health importance among school-aged children in Ghana. There is, therefore, the need to invest in actions that prevent their occurrence and management especially among children of school going age.
Keywords: Anaemia, vitamin-A deficiency, nutritional status, retinol, haemoglobin, school children, peri-urban