The frequency of anaemia in infants in Gospić and the effect of nutrition on its frequency

Sandra Čubelić

Abstract

Objective - The study was undertaken to establish the frequency of iron deficiency anaemia in infants in Gospić and the effect of nutrition on its frequency.

Subjects and methods - The study comprised 347 infants, who were patients at the paediatric clinic of Gospić Health Centre over a two year period. The subjects of the study were 282 infants who met the criteria set, and who underwent screening for iron deficiency anaemia at the age of six months of life. On the basis of their history taken regarding how they had been fed, the effect of nutrition on the frequency of anaemia was established, whereby the infants were divided into two groups: group 1 (breast-fed infants) and group 2 (non-breast-fed infants).

Results - In this period, from 01.06.2000 to 01.06.2002, 347 babies were born who also became patients of the paediatrics clinic of the Gospić Health Centre. Of these, 282 infants met the criteria to take part in the study, whilst 65 infants were not included because they did not meet the criteria. Of the total of 282 infants included in the study, the criteria for diagnosis of iron-deficiency anaemic, on the basis of the screening method, were met by 68, or 24.1%. Of the total of 68 infants diagnosed with anaemia, 27 or 39.7% were in group 1, whilst 41 or 60.3% were in group 2 of the infants studied (χ²=8.83; df=1; p=0.003).

Conclusion - The results indicate that iron deficiency anaemia is a frequent illness in infants after six months of life, but iron preparations should be given exclusively to infants with diagnosed iron deficiency anaemia on the basis of screening. Infants who are breast-fed have less anaemia.

Keywords

Infants; Iron deficiency anaemia; Screening

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