Risk factors associated with anemia among Serbian school-age children 7-14 years old: results of the first national health survey

Hippokratia 2010; 14 (4): 252-260

D. Djokic, MB. Drakulovic, Z. Radojicic, L. Crncevic Radovic, L. Rakic, S. Kocic, G. Davidovic


Background: Anemia in school-age children is an important public health problem and available data of its prevalence and existing risk factors are essential for planning preventive strategies. The purpose of the current study was to assess the prevalence of and the risk factors associated with anemia among the school-age children 7-14 years years old in Serbia.
Methods: In the 2000 National Health Survey, a cross sectional, multistage cluster survey, performed in 1688 private and refugee campuses? households across the territory of Serbia a total of 525 cases were recruited. Socioeconomic, nutritional, physical activities and lifestyle data have been collected and hemoglobin levels were determined.
Results: The overall prevalence of anemia was 18% (94/525) [95% CI 15-21]. Age of 12-14 yrs (odds ratio 3.56 [95% CI 2.17-5.85], p=0.000), male gender (3.22 [1.92-5.42], p=0.000), refugee campuses? residence (1.98 [1.22-3.23], p=0.000), lunch skipping (3.43 [1.40-8.33], p=0.007), defective poultry intake (1.65 [1.01-2.62], p=0.047), lack of fish consumption (1.84 [1.07-3.18], p=0.028), disagreement that sport contributes protecting health (3.80 [2.02-6.95], p=0.000), absence of learning (1.80 [1.12-2.90], p=0.016) and defective book reading in free time (2.18 [1.03-4.61], p=0.04), were independent risk factors of anemia. The frequency of anemia was highest in schoolaged of male gender adolescent males 12-14 years old (46/105, 44%); in 12-14 years aged participants living in refugee campuses? households (22/63, 35%); in refugees of 7-14 yrs old male gender (32/101, 32%); in subjects with defective fish and poultry intake (35/118, 30%) and in participants who escaped reading and learning as lifestyle practices in free time (53/204, 26%).
Conclusions: Socioeconomic, nutritional, physical and lifestyle risk factors could be considered by introducing preventive strategies of anemia in school-age children in Serbia.