Baseline iron status of apparently healthy children in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

  • Z A Jeremiah
  • F I Buseri
  • E K Uko
  • T C Adias


Background: Iron deficiency is one of the micronutrient disorder affecting mostly children in the developing countries. There is paucity of information on this subject in our locality. Aim: This study was aimed at assessing the baseline iron status of apparently healthy children aged 1-8 years in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria. Methods: Four biochemical iron indicators; serum iron (SI), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation (TS) and serum ferritin(SF), were used for the assessment. Standard colorimetric and Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) procedures were followed for the estimation of all variables. The students t-test was used for the analysis of the data and the values were expressed as mean and standard deviation. Significance level was set at p< 0.05. Results: The mean values of the parameters estimated were serum iron, 19.8 + 21.8 µmol/l; TIBC, 62.9 + 46.0 µmol/l, transferrin saturation, 29.2 + 18.5 %, serum ferritin, 50.6 + 42.3 ng/ml. The mean values of all the parameters estimated in the under fives were found to be significantly lower than the values obtained in the five to 8 years group (p < 0.01). Similarly a sex related difference in the mean values was obtained in all variables except transferrin saturation. The prevalence of iron deficiency among the participants by single ferritin (<15 ng/ml) model was 13.8%. Combination of serum ferritin (< 15 ng/ml) and transferrin saturation (< 16%) gave a prevalence of 7.5%. Conclusion: We concluded that iron deficiency is more pronounced among children under five years of age and this finding in consistent with what obtains in the literature worldwide.

Keywords: Iron status, Iron deficiency, Prevalence, Serum ferritin, Transferrin saturation, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

PHMJ Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 156-160

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eISSN: 0795-3038