Iron deficiency in young Lebanese children: association with elevated blood lead levels.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the prevalence of transferrin saturation (TS) <12%, and iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) in Lebanese children, and their association with dietary habits, sociodemographic characteristics, and blood lead levels. PROCEDURE: A cross-sectional study was performed over a period of 2 years. Of 268 children studied, 142 (53%) were boys and 126 (47%) were girls with an age range of 11 to 75 months. Information collected included nutritional status, blood counts, TS, and blood lead levels. RESULTS: The total prevalence of TS<12% and IDA were 33.6% and 20.5%, respectively, and were associated with not having received iron supplements. IDA was more prevalent among males (P=0.04). TS<12% and IDA were significantly associated with elevated blood lead levels in the first age group (11 to 23 mo) (P=0.04, odds ratio=3.19) and (P=0.006, odds ratio=4.59), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: IDA is common in Lebanese children and is associated with increased blood lead levels, lack of iron supplementation, and cultural dietary habits. Remedial measures such as iron fortification of commonly consumed food are needed on the national level. Lead exposure must be controlled and awareness must be raised about the potentially devastating consequences of combined iron deficiency and lead poisoning on young children.
Muwakkit, S; Nuwayhid, I; Nabulsi, M; al Hajj, R; Khoury, R; Mikati, M; Abboud, MR
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