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Objective: To determine the prevalence of anaemia and factors associated with iron deficiency among school children in rural Kenitra, Morocco. Methods: 295 students between 6 and 16 years old composed the study group. The level of haemoglobin was measured in a group of 295 school children. The iron status was determined by ferritin level in serum, and anaemia was defined when haemoglobin <11.5 g/dl. Iron deficiency was defined as ferritin level <15 μg/l. A questionnaire was developed to obtain information on the socio-economic and demographic status of the family such as the size of household, the income and possessions as well as educational status of the parents.
Results: The mean haemoglobin concentration was 12.4 g/dl in boys and 12.5 g/dl in girls, whereas the mean ferritin level was 26.7 Wg/l in boys and 27.9 Wg/l in girls. The overall prevalence of anaemia in the studied population was 12.2 % and iron deficiency was 20.4 %. There was a significant relationship between education of the mother and anaemia in children (p= 0.01). Serum ferritin (SF), serum iron concentrations and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were significantly correlated with haemoglobin by multiple regression
analysis. However, using logistic regression analysis, the results showed that anaemia was not significantly associated with gender, parents\' employment and monthly family income.
Conclusion: Anaemia remains a common problem in the young children particularly the primary education school boys of the households of low income. The results suggest also, that iron deficiency is an important determinant of anaemia in this population; however, whole anaemia cannot be solely explained by iron deficiency. Further studies are needed to consider micronutrients status and exposure to environmental pollutants
Keywords: Anaemia, Iron deficiency, Serum ferritin, School children, Morocco
East African Journal of Public Health Vol. 5 (2) 2008: pp. 62-66