Relationship between vitamin A status and anaemia among school age children in Benin
Background: Anaemia and vitamin A deficiency are two major public health problems affecting many developing countries world-wide. Vitamin A deficiency, in addition to other health problems, can contribute to anaemia. Therefore, the objective of this study is to determine the relationship between vitamin A status and anaemia among school age
children in Benin City.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study carried out between June
2005 and February 2006 on one hundred and fifty-two children within the age range of 6 and 12 years, randomly selected from primary schools in a Local Government Area of Edo State. Plasma vitamin A was assessed
by Bessey’s Spectrophotometric method, while the Haemoglobin concentration was assessed using the photometric principle ofanalysis.
Results: The mean plasma vitamin A level was 27.7± 12.4ìg/dl., with a range of 10 - 64ìg/dl. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (plasma retinol <20ìg/dl) was 29.6%. There was no subject with severe vitamin A deficiency (plasma retinol <10ìg/dl. The mean haemoglobin concentration
was 10.5 ± 1.1g/dl., with a range of 7.3 – 13.4g/dl. The prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin concentration <11g/dl) was 58.6%. There was no statistically significant correlation between vitamin A deficiency and anaemia, although the haemoglobin levels tended to increase with increased vitamin A status.
Conclusion: This study shows high prevalence rates of vitamin A deficiency
and anaemia in this part of Nigeria. There was a trend of increasing
haemoglobin levels with higher vitamin A status which however, was not statistically correlated.
Key Words: vitamin A deficiency, Anaemia, school age children.