Prevalence and Causes of Anemia in Six to Sixty Months Old Children: A Cross-Sectional Study at Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital
Introduction: Anemia is one of the most common problems in children, especially in the developing countries. Nutritional anemia is associated with impaired performance of a range of mental and physical functions in children. This study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and possible causes of anemia in children attending tertiary care center in Nepal.
Material and Methods: This was a prospective hospital based cross-sectional study done at Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal over a period of 10 months from March to December 2012. Children between the age group of 6 months to 60 months attending the Paediatric Out-Patient Department were randomly selected. The haemoglobin concentration was measured with an Automated Haematology Counter (Sysmex, Japan) following the manufacturer’s instructions. Anemia in children is defined as a hemoglobin level less than 11 gm/ dl.
Results: There were 500 children enrolled in the study, out of which 191 (38.2%) were found to be anemic. Mild anemia was observed in 31.2%, moderate in 6.6% and severe in 0.4%. The commonest age group affected was between 24 months to 35 months old children. Anemia was more common in female children (41.9%) compared to males (35.8%). 118 anemic children were further investigated for the cause of anemia and 103 (87.3%) had iron deficiency anemia.
Conclusion: This study reflects that prevalence of anemia still remains high and iron deficiency is the leading cause of nutritional anemia in children. Timely intervention can both prevent and treat childhood anemia.
J. Nepal Paediatr. Soc. 2013;33(3):163-165
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