Iron deficiency and anemia: disparity exists between children in American Samoa and children living within the US

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Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Healthy People 2010 emphasizes elimination of health disparity and improvements in anemia and iron deficiency (ID). The study purpose was to (1) determine the prevalence of anemia, ID and ID anemia (IDA) in children living in American Samoa and (2) compare the prevalence to that found in children living in the United States.

Subjects/Methods:

A total of 211 children from American Samoa, aged 1-5 years of age, participated in this cross-sectional study. Prevalence of anemia, ID and IDA were determined and comparison made using data obtained from children living in the United States. Anemia was diagnosed as hemoglobin (Hb) <110.0 g/l, ID as erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) >70 μmmol/mol heme and IDA as Hb <110.0 g/l and EP >70 μmol/mol heme.

Results:

Anemia, ID and IDA prevalence was 33, 70 and 33%, respectively. The results of children from the United States were as follows: anemia, 9%; ID, 10% and IDA, 2%. Within American Samoan children, ID is positively associated with being breastfed <6 months (P<0.05) and anemia and IDA with lower household income (P<0.05; P<0.01). Mean Hb was significantly lower (P<0.001) and mean EP was significantly higher (P<0.001) than those within children living in the United States.

Conclusion:

To meet Healthy People 2010 goals in children aged 1-2 years, the prevalence of ID in children living in American Samoa would need to decrease from 83 to 5% and in children aged 3-5 years from 59 to 1%. It is critical to ensure that populations within the United States and its territories are provided appropriate resources to promote health and prevent disease.

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