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J Trop Pediatr. 1990 Oct;36(5):251-5.

Investigation of serum vitamin A levels of children who had a history of recurrent diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in Ankara.

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  • 1Hacettepe University Children's Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.


Vitamin A deficiency is considered a widespread public health problem among preschool children in the developing countries. A limited number of studies reveal an association between xerophthalmia and significant systemic diseases including protein-energy malnutrition, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections. The present study was carried out to assess the vitamin A status of preschool children who have a history of recurrent acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea. We have already shown that serum vitamin A levels of all the study groups were lower than the control group (P less than 0.001) and the detailed statistical analyses made clear that malnutrition is the major contributing factor (P less than 0.001) although infections also have a negative effect on serum vitamin A levels (P less than 0.01). We have also shown that subclinical vitamin A deficiency is a problem of public health importance in this region, since about 64 per cent of the children examined were found to have low levels of serum vitamin A (less than 20 micrograms/dl).

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