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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


ECHAGUE, Gloria et al. Anemia in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Children under Age 5 from Communities in the Caazapá Department of Paraguay. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2013, vol.40, n.1, pp.19-28. ISSN 1683-9803.

Introduction: Children constitute one of the most vulnerable groups to nutritional deficit, and anemia is an indicator poor nutrition and poor health. Objectives: To assess the frequency of anemia, classify it by severity, and compare it in rural and indigenous children under age 5 from rural communities of the Department of Caazapa. Material and Methods: We conducted a retrospective, descriptive and cross-sectional study. After informed consent, we included 226 children under age 5 of both sexes, 109 of whom were non-indigenous and 117 indigenous. A survey was taken of the parents and/or guardians to collect sociodemographic and educational data. A venous blood sample was taken to measure hemoglobin, hematocrits, iron, and mean corpuscular volume. The cutoff values for anemia were those established by WHO. Results were analyzed using the Epi-Info 3.5.3 program. Results: Average hemoglobin values were 109.0 ± 8.3 g/L in non-indigenous children and 104.1 ± 8.9 g/L in the indigenous children. A statistically significant difference (p<0.001) was found between the two populations. The frequency of anemia in non-indigenous children was 45.8% and 74.4% in indigenous children. A higher percentage of moderate anemia was found in indigenous children. Discussion: The communities the indigenous children were from showed statistically significant (p<0.001) higher frequency of anemia and lower hemoglobin levels than those of the non-indigenous children. Average hemoglobin levels were below the WHO cutoff values for both populations. The frequency of anemia we found, particularly among the sample of indigenous children, may be related to their low-income socioeconomic status and low levels of education, which suggests the need for urgent intervention to achieve effective control of anemia in the early stages of childhood when it is possible to reverse the damage.

Keywords : Anemia; vulnerable populations; rural populations; indigenous population; children.

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