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Mild riboflavin deficiency is highly prevalent in school-age children but does not increase risk for anaemia in Côte d'Ivoire

  • Fabian Rohner (a1), Michael B. Zimmermann (a1), Rita Wegmueller (a1), Andreas B. Tschannen (a2) and Richard F. Hurrell (a1)...

Abstract

There are few data on the prevalence of riboflavin deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa, and it remains unclear whether riboflavin status influences the risk for anaemia. The aims of this study were to: (1) measure the prevalence of riboflavin deficiency in children in south-central Côte d'Ivoire; (2) estimate the riboflavin content of the local diet; and (3) determine if riboflavin deficiency predicts anaemia and/or iron deficiency. In 5- to 15-year-old children (n 281), height, weight, haemoglobin (Hb), whole blood zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP), erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRAC), serum retinol, C-reactive protein (CRP) and prevalence of Plasmodium spp. (asymptomatic malaria) and Schistosoma haematobium (bilharziosis) infections were measured. Three-day weighed food records were kept in twenty-four households. Prevalence of anaemia in the sample was 52 %; 59 % were iron-deficient based on an elevated ZPP concentration, and 36 % suffered from iron deficiency anaemia. Plasmodium parasitaemia was found in 49 % of the children. Nineteen percent of the children were infected with S. haematobium. Median riboflavin intake in 5- to 15-year-old children from the food records was 0·42 mg/d, ~47 % of the estimated average requirement for this age group. Prevalence of riboflavin deficiency was 65 %, as defined by an EGRAC value >1·2. Age, elevated CRP and iron deficiency were significant predictors of Hb. Riboflavin-deficient children free of malaria were more likely to be iron deficient (odds ratio; 3·07; 95 % CI 1·12, 8·41). In conclusion, nearly two-thirds of school-age children in south-central Côte d'Ivoire are mildly riboflavin deficient. Riboflavin deficiency did not predict Hb and/or anaemia, but did predict iron deficiency among children free of malaria.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Fabian Rohner, fax, +41(44)632 14 70, email fabian.rohner@ilw.agrl.ethz.ch

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Keywords

Mild riboflavin deficiency is highly prevalent in school-age children but does not increase risk for anaemia in Côte d'Ivoire

  • Fabian Rohner (a1), Michael B. Zimmermann (a1), Rita Wegmueller (a1), Andreas B. Tschannen (a2) and Richard F. Hurrell (a1)...

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