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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2005 Nov;16(4):791-807.

Managing anemia in low-income toddlers: barriers, challenges and context in primary care.

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Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut (UConn), USA.


Iron-deficiency remains a concern among low-income toddlers in the U.S. This formative study describes how primary care providers serving high-risk 1- to 3-year-old children in an urban ambulatory care setting approach anemia. Data collection included a retrospective review of randomly selected medical records (n=264) and semi-structured interviews with clinicians (n=41). Thirty-eight percent of the children presented with anemia (Hgb < 11.0 g/dl) at least once between 12 and 36 months of age. Just under half of these children were treated for anemia. Follow-up laboratories for iron-treated children were completed within 35 days in 16% of cases (median: 3 months). Interviews identified four key themes (iron-deficiency, communication, poverty, system) running through the two major categories of prevention and treatment. Treatment cut-points were variable. While providers felt clinically comfortable with anemia, they felt burdened and challenged by follow-up. Communication and system barriers weighed most heavily on perceived treatment outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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