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To examine the associations of dietary diversity with anaemia and iron status among primary school-aged children in South Africa.
An analysis was conducted with pooled individual data from the baseline surveys from three previously conducted independent intervention studies. Two different dietary diversity scores (DDS) were calculated based on data from 1-day (1-d) and 3-day (3-d) dietary recall periods, respectively. Logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the associations of dietary diversity with anaemia and iron status.
KwaZulu-Natal and North West provinces, South Africa.
Children (n 578) 5- to 12-year-old.
A DDS ≤ 4 was associated with higher odds of being anaemic (1-d P = 0·001; 3-d P = 0·006) and being iron deficient (ID) (3-d P < 0·001). For both recall periods, consumption of ‘vegetables and fruits other than vitamin A-rich’ and ‘animal-source foods (ASF)’ was associated with lower odds of being anaemic (both P = 0·002), and ‘organ meats’ with lower odds of being ID (1-d P = 0·045; 3-d P < 0·001). Consumption of ‘meat, chicken and fish’ was associated with lower odds of being anaemic (P = 0·045), and ‘vegetables and fruits other than vitamin A-rich’, ‘legumes, nuts and seeds’ and ‘ASF’ with lower odds of being ID for the 3-d recall period only (P = 0·038, P = 0·020 and P = 0·003, respectively).
In order to improve anaemia and iron status among primary school-aged children, dietary diversification, with emphasis on consumption of vegetables, fruits and ASF (including organ meats), should be promoted.
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