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The present study was conducted to investigate reasons for the high prevalence of anaemia among adolescent schoolgirls and to elucidate the role of vitamin A in contributing to Fe-deficiency anaemia (IDA).
Among 1269 schoolgirls who were previously screened for anaemia (Hb < 120 g/l), 391 anaemic girls were further assessed for Fe, vitamin A and subclinical inflammation status. Fe and vitamin A indicators were corrected for inflammation and were compared in the Fe-deficient and non-deficient groups as well as between those with and without inflammation. Logistic regression was done to determine whether vitamin A status and subclinical inflammation were risk factors for Fe deficiency. The differences in Fe status among tertiles of vitamin A concentrations were assessed using ANOVA.
Adolescent schoolgirls (n 391).
One-third of the anaemia (30·4 %) was IDA. Prevalence of low vitamin A status (serum retinol <1·05 μmol/l) was 31·5 %. Fe and vitamin A status were significantly different between the IDA and non-IDA groups and also based on their inflammation status. Logistic regression showed that low vitamin A status was a significant predictor for being Fe deficient (OR = 1·81; 95 % CI 1·03, 3·19 and OR = 2·31; 1·31, 4·07 in the middle (1·056–1·298 μmol/l) and low (≤1·056 μmol/l) vitamin A tertiles, respectively). ANOVA showed that better Fe status was associated with a higher concentration of serum retinol but only in IDA.
Fe deficiency was not the main cause of anaemia in the present population. The role of vitamin A as well as other micronutrients should be taken into account in addressing the problem of anaemia.
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