Research Article: Risk Factors for Anemia among Brazilian Infants from the 2006 National Demographic Health Survey

Date Published: February 2, 2012

Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Author(s): Tulio Konstantyner, Thais Cláudia Roma Oliveira, José Augusto de Aguiar Carrazedo Taddei.


Iron deficiency is an important public health problem. An understanding of anemia risk factors is essential to informed health policies. We performed a cross-sectional study of 1,382 infants from the 2006 Brazilian National Survey on Demography and the Health of Women and Children. Mild and moderate anemia was characterised by hemoglobin levels below 11.0 and 9.5 g/dL, respectively. Rates for mild and moderate anemia were 25.9% and 9.9%, respectively. The logistic model included three risk factors for mild anemia—urban residence area (OR = 2.5; P = 0.004), fever in the past 2 weeks (OR = 2.4; P < 0.001), and age less than 12 months (OR = 1.7; P = 0.024). Strategies to control infant anemia should include health promotion and nutritional education for families from all socioeconomic levels. Lifestyle quality improvement based on adequate food consumption must be achieved by communities in all macroregions, and especially in urban areas.

Partial Text

Iron deficiency is the most common and persevering nutritional disorder and continues to be an important public health problem worldwide [1]. Iron deficiency is responsible for the great majority of cases of anemia. Anemia has been used as a child health indicator due to its multifactorial detection characteristics and its demonstrated association with other health indicators in the paediatric age group, including premature weaning, malnutrition, parasitological and bacterial infections, and death [1, 2].

The present study used data from the National Survey on Demography and the Health of Women and Children (PNDS 2006), available on the Brazilian Ministry of Health website. That cross-sectional study aimed to determine the profile of fertile women and of children less than 5 years of age in the country’s geopolitical macroregions. The study’s methods, including sample design, data collection standards and procedures, data consistency, expansion technique for the complex sample, and ethical issues, have been reported elsewhere [8].

We estimated that 25.9% (CI 95%: 21.4; 30.3%) of the children in the country had mild anemia and 9.9% (CI 95%: 6.8; 12.9%) had moderate anemia in 2006.

The results of this study indicate that in this countrywide representative sample, three factors were independently associated with mild anemia: living in an urban area, age less than 12 months, and fever in the past two weeks.

This study indicates that strategies to improve infant health in Brazil should include health promotion and nutritional education for families from all socioeconomic levels, particularly in urban areas in all geopolitical macroregions. Lifestyle quality improvements based on adequate food consumption and appropriate care for children under 12 months of age must be achieved by communities and state authorities.




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