Prevalence of vitamin a, zinc, iodine deficiency and anaemia among 2-10 year- old Ghanaian children
Children are the most nutritionally vulnerable group of society as children are dependants and they are also at a critical stage of the growing process. They need adequate vitamin A, zinc, iron and iodine for their development and school performance. Most often iron deficiency causes anaemia with resultant fatigue and low work capacity. Studies comprehensively assessed dietary intakes of nutrients among Ghanaian children but there is not enough data available on the biochemical assessment of the micronutrient status of Ghanaian children. Therefore, the study provided the first primary data on the prevalence of vitamin A, zinc, iron, iodine deficiency and anaemia among underprivileged 2 – 10 years Ghanaian children in Okwenya village of the Manya-Krobo District. The study was a cross-sectional study carried out among 101 children. Fasting blood sample was collected from each child and used to determine vitamin A, serum zinc and hemoglobin concentration. Urine sample was collected from each of the participants early in the morning and that was used to determine the participant’s urinary iodine concentration. Dietary intake data were collected with the 24-hour recalls method on two non consecutive days. Anthropometric data (weight and height measurements) and demographic data were collected on the participants. The prevalence of urinary iodine deficiency and anaemia among the children of Okwenya village was of public health concern. There was high prevalence of low urinary iodine, 93.8% (<100 μg/dl) and anaemia, 72.5% (hemoglobin <11.5g/dl) among the participants. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (serum retinol<20μg/dl), low serum zinc concentration <70μg/dl and low hair zinc concentration <70μg/g among the children was 35.6%, 40.5% and 29.9% respectively. There was 22.8% of the participants stunted (short for their age) in the study. This study the first nutritional assessment study in the community showed a high prevalence of low urinary iodine concentration and anemia among the children that were of public health interest. The findings also showed the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency and stunting among the children. From the findings there is the need for a nutritional intervention programme to improve the iodine, anaemia, vitamin A and general nutritional status of the children of Okwenya village.