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Child Trop. 1981;(133):1-36.

Nutritional anaemia.



This discussion of nutritional anemia reviews definitions and epidemiology before focusing on the following: iron deficiency anemia (review of iron metabolism, iron requirements and recommended intake, and consequences, causes, treatment, and prevention of iron deficient anemia); folic acid deficiency anemia (review of folic acid metabolism, requirements, and recommended intake, and consequences, causes, and treatment of folic acid deficiency anemia); vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (review of vitamin B12 metabolism, requirements, and recommended intake, and consequences, causes, treatment, and prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia); other possible causes of nutritional anemia; and the contribution of nutritional factors to causes of anemia. Nutritional anemia, the most widespread nutritional disorder in the world, affects mainly developing countries and to a lesser extent developed nations. It is estimated that 500 million to 1 billion individuals in the world are affected by nutritional anemia. In a healthy person, a state of nutritional balance exists: the amount of food eaten is equal to the amount of nutrients utilized in order to ensure the effective functioning of the body and maintain sufficient reserves. This balance may be upset under various circumstances: decrease in nutrition, increase in losses, increased needs, decreased absorption, and decreased utilization. When this balance is upset for 1 or more of the identified reasons, a nutrient deficiency arises. The body dips into its reserves to meet its needs. When these are exhausted, all the bodily functions in which this nutrient plays a part are affected. In the case of hematopoietic nutrients, the production of red corpuscles hemoglobin ceases. This is anemia. Among the elements which contribute to the formation and development of red corpuscles and to the synthesis of hemoglobin, the following should be noted: iron; other minerals, i.e., copper, zinc, magnesium, cobalt, molybdenum; vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B12; and amino acids. Nutritional anemia can only be overcome if its prevalence, and the respective prevalences of iron, folic acid, and/or vitamin B12 deficiencies, are accurately determined for various population groups through reliable epidemiological studies. Many factors contribute to the development of nutritional anemia including lack of food, certain customs and habits, and parasitoses. An increase in available foodstuffs, better utilization of resources, and better living conditions lead to more balanced nutrition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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