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To determine the prevalence and correlates of anaemia in male and female adolescents in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional community-based study.
Five primary health-care centres in Riyadh.
We invited 203 male and 292 female adolescents aged 13–18 years for interview, anthropometric measurements and complete blood count. Blood Hb was measured with a Coulter Cellular Analysis System using the light scattering method.
Using the WHO cut-off of Hb<12 g/dl, 16·7 % (n 34) of males and 34·2 % (n 100) of females were suffering from anaemia. Mean Hb in males and females was 13·5 (sd 1·4) and 12·3 (sd 1·2) g/dl, respectively. Values for mean cell volume, mean cell Hb, mean corpuscular Hb concentration and red cell distribution width in male and female adolescents were 77·8 (sd 6·2) v. 76·4 (sd 10·3) μm3, 26·1 (sd 2·7) v. 25·5 (sd 2·6) pg, 32·7 (sd 2·4) v. 32·2 (sd 2·6) g/dl and 13·9 (sd 1·4) v. 13·6 (sd 1·3) %, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that a positive family history of Fe-deficiency anaemia (OR=4·7; 95 % CI 1·7, 12·2), infrequent intake (OR=3·7; 95 % CI 1·3, 10·0) and never intake of fresh juices (OR=3·5; 95 % CI 1·4, 9·5) and being 13–14 years of age (OR=3·1; 95 % CI 1·2, 9·3) were significantly associated with anaemia in male adolescents; whereas in females, family history of Fe-deficiency anaemia (OR=3·4; 95 % CI 1·5, 7·6), being overweight (OR=3·0; 95 % CI 1·4, 6·1), no intake of fresh juices (OR=2·6; 95 % CI 1·4, 5·1), living in an apartment (OR=2·0; 95 % CI 1·1, 3·8) and living in a small house (OR=2·5; 95 % CI 1·2, 5·3) were significantly associated with anaemia.
Anaemia is more prevalent among Saudi female adolescents as compared with males. Important factors like positive family history of Fe-deficiency anaemia, overweight, lack of fresh juice intake and low socio-economic status are significantly associated with anaemia in adolescents.
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