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Fe-deficiency anaemia (IDA) occurs in 1–2 % of infants in developed countries, peaks at 1–3 years of age and is associated with later cognitive deficits. The objectives of the present study were to describe the characteristics of young children with severe IDA and examine modifiable risk factors in a developed-country setting.
Two prospective samples: a national surveillance programme sample and a regional longitudinal study sample.
Two samples of young children recruited from community-based health-care practices: a national sample with severe anaemia (Hb<80 g/l) due to Fe deficiency and a regional sample with non-anaemic Fe sufficiency.
Children with severe IDA (n 201, mean Hb 55·1 g/l) experienced substantial morbidity (including developmental delay, heart failure, cerebral thrombosis) and health-care utilization (including a 42 % hospitalization rate). Compared with children with Fe sufficiency (n 597, mean Hb 122·4 g/l), children with severe IDA consumed a larger volume of cow’s milk daily (median 1065 ml v. 500 ml, P<0·001) and were more likely to be using a bottle during the day (78 % v. 43 %, OR=6·0; 95 % CI 4·0, 8·9) and also in bed (60 % v. 21 %, OR=6·5; 95 % CI 4·4, 9·5).
Severe IDA is associated with substantial morbidity and may be preventable. Three potentially modifiable feeding practices are associated with IDA: (i) cow’s milk consumption greater than 500 ml/d; (ii) daytime bottle use beyond 12 months of age; and (iii) bottle use in bed. These feeding practices should be highlighted in future recommendations for public health and primary-care practitioners.
To determine if children aged 1–6 years from non-Western immigrant families have lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels than children from Western-born families and examine which factors influence this relationship.
Healthy children (n 1540) recruited through the TARGet Kids! practice-based research network. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations of non-Western immigrants were compared with those of children from Western-born families. Children from non-Western immigrant families were defined as those born, or their parents were born, outside a Western country. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were used to identify factors which might influence this relationship.
Median age was 36 months, 51 % were male, 86 % had ‘light’ skin pigmentation, 55 % took vitamin D supplements, mean cow's milk intake was 1·8 cups/d and 27 % were non-Western immigrants. Median serum 25(OH)D concentration was 83 nmol/l, with 5 % having 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l. Univariable analysis revealed that non-Western immigrant children had serum 25(OH)D lower by 4 (95 % CI 1·3, 8·0) nmol/l (P = 0·006) and increased odds of 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/l (OR = 1·9; 95 % CI 1·3, 2·9). After adjustment for known vitamin D determinants the observed difference attenuated to 0·04 (95 % CI −4·8, 4·8) nmol/l (P = 0·99), with higher cow's milk intake (P < 0·0001), vitamin D supplementation (P < 0·0001), summer season (P = 0·008) and increased age (P = 0·04) being statistically significant covariates. Vitamin D supplementation was the strongest explanatory factor of the observed difference.
There is an association between non-Western immigration and lower 25(OH)D in early childhood. This difference appears related to known vitamin D determinants, primarily vitamin D supplementation, representing opportunities for intervention.
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