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Food Nutr Bull. 2007 Dec;28(4):406-11.

Iron-deficiency anemia among children in southwest Iran.

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Research Center for Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathy of Ahwaz, Iran.



Iron deficiency is a major health problem worldwide and especially in developing countries. Iron-deficiency anemia has adverse effects on the development of children.


The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia in children under 5 years of age in southwest Iran. The study also sought to investigate the association between socioeconomic, demographic, cultural, and nutritional factors and iron-deficiency anemia in the selected area.


A randomized, cross-sectional study was performed of children 6 to 59 months of age living in urban and rural areas of Ahwaz District in Khuzestan Province. At eight randomly selected health centers, the children's height (or length) and weight were measured, and information on length and weight at birth was obtained from growth charts. Blood samples were taken from 337 randomly selected children.


The results showed that 43.9% of the children had anemia and 29.1% iron-deficiency anemia. The highest prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia was in the 12- to 24-month age group. In the urban areas, infants 6 to 11 months of age had the highest prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia.


The high prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia among children in southwest Iran indicates a major nutrition and health problem.

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