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Serum folate and vitamin B12 status in young Brazilian children

  • Lara LS Silva (a1), Wafaie W Fawzi (a2), Marly A Cardoso (a1) and for the ENFAC Working Group (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Objective

To assess the nutritional status of folate and vitamin B12 with anaemia in young children.

Design

A cross-sectional study was conducted at the primary health-care centres of four Brazilian cities. Folate and vitamin B12 were assessed by fluoroimmunoassay. Multilevel Poisson regression models were used to explore the association of folate and vitamin B12 status in relation to anaemia in young children.

Setting

Brazil.

Participants

Children (n 460) aged 11 to 15 months.

Results

The median (interquartile range) of serum folate was 39·7 (28·8–55·3) nmol/l and only four children presented with folate deficiency (<10 nmol/l). Surprisingly, 30·9 % of children presented with serum folate concentrations above the upper limit of detectable values by the commercial kit used for analysis. The frequency of vitamin B12 deficiency (<148 pmol/l) was 15 % and it was inversely associated with the highest tertile of serum folate concentrations (P<0·001). Having high serum folate concentration (≥50·1 nmol/l) and vitamin B12≥148 pmol/l was associated with lower frequency of anaemia in these children (prevalence ratio=0·53; 95% CI 0·30, 0·92).

Conclusions

High frequency of elevated serum concentration of folate was found among young Brazilian children and 15 % of them had vitamin B12 deficiency. The combination of high serum folate and normal vitamin B12 status was associated with a lower frequency of anaemia in these children. Improvements in the current strategies to promote healthy food-based complementary feeding along with prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies are recommended to improve children’s health.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email marlyac@usp.br

Footnotes

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Members of the ENFAC Working Group are listed in the Appendix.

Footnotes

References

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Keywords

Serum folate and vitamin B12 status in young Brazilian children

  • Lara LS Silva (a1), Wafaie W Fawzi (a2), Marly A Cardoso (a1) and for the ENFAC Working Group (a1) (a2)

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