Comparative Study of Nutritional Status of Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Anemia in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria
Background: Poor growth and nutritional status are common features of sickle cell anemia (SCA) in children. The rising trend of obesity in children in developing countries has been reported despite a huge burden of undernutrition in these settings. In SCA, overweight/obesity is being increasingly reported. Aims: To evaluate the nutritional status and its determinants in children with SCA and to compare the same with hemoglobin AA (HbAA) controls of similar age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Methods: The study was a cross-sectional analytical study involving 175 subjects and controls aged 1–18 years who met the inclusion criteria. Weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Z scores were computed for the anthropometric measurements using the World Health Organization (WHO) standard reference. Hemoglobin concentration was determined using HemoCue Hb201+ Analyzer. Results: Subjects had significantly lower Z- scores for weight, height, and BMI compared with controls. Stunting, wasting, and overweight/obesity were observed in 10.9%, 24.6%, and 5.1% of subjects compared with 2.3%, 5.7%, and 9.7% respectively in controls. Wasting, stunting and overweight/obesity in SCA were significantly associated with age while overweight/obesity was significantly associated with upper social class (P=0.001). Conclusions: Poor growth and nutritional status are still prevalent while overweight and obesity are emerging comorbidities among children with SCA in our environment. Regular nutritional assessment of children with SCA should be encouraged while those at risk of under/over-nutrition should receive adequate nutritional rehabilitation to prevent possible complications.