Iron deficiency anaemia in 12-24 months old children in Thessalia, Greece

Hippokratia 2003, 7(1):41-48

E Tympa-Psirropoulou, C Vagenas, O Dafni, S Karagiannopoulou, A Matala, D Psirropoulos, F Skopouli
Charakopio University of Athens, 2nd Dpt Internal Medicine, Hippokratio General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece


Iron delciency anemia (IDA) is a common problem all over the world, which more often attacks pregnant women, infants and children. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of IDA in children 12-24 months old in the area of Thessalia located in the central part of Greece. In the 1st part of this cross-sectional and case-control study, the haemoglobin (Hb) levels of 938 children (approximately
the one third of the total children population) were estimated by a mobile photometer analyzer. This method is not in common use in Greece. Hb values below 11 gr / dl of blood have been defined as one of the diagnostic limits of IDA. In the second part children with Hb < 11 gr / dl were compared with their random selected controls (matched one by one in sex,age and locality) in hematological and anthropometric parameters (weight, height, head circumference, weight scale and height scale). The estimated laboratory values were Hb, haematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, zinc protoporphyrin, serum iron, serum ferritin, transferring saturation, total iron binding capacity and Hb electrophoresis. Finally 75 children (34 boys, 41 girls, mean age 17.51?±3.5 months), who were found with IDA, constituted the case group whilst 75 healthy children constituted the control group. The statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 10.
The prevalence of IDA in the region was 7.99%. At the same time, a number of children with stigma of b-thalassaemia (2.13%) was discovered, which was previously ignored. The values of Hb, mobile and laboratory were without difference between the two groups whereas significant difference was recorded (p < 0.001) in all hematological and anthropometrical parameters except head circumference. Although the prevalence of IDA in this area of Greece is approximately similar to others in the developed world, it still consists a public health problem. The mobile method for Hb estimation should also be used widely in Greece since its reliability to detect IDA has been conlrmed in this study too. The further improvement of the present IDA status in Greece could be achieved through the continuous information about iron rich foods and its absorption, the melioration of environmental conditions and the application of reliable,easy to use and cheap methods for Hb estimation.