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Homo. 2013 Jun;64(3):215-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jchb.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

Undernutrition in Santal children: a biochemical and hematological study.

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Department of Physiology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata 700009, West Bengal, India.


The nutritional status of the children can be measured by biochemical and hematological parameters and dietary assessment. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the causes of the undernutrition in the surveyed Santal children, where high degree of undernutrition exists, by measuring selected hematological and biochemical parameters and dietary intake. Nutritional status was assessed by height-for-age Z-score. Total count of red blood cells (RBC count), packed cell volume (PCV), hemoglobin concentration (Hb%), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) were measured. Biochemical parameters such as serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), serum ferritin, serum transferrin, transferrin saturation (TS) and serum albumin were also measured. Serum iron, serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, hemoglobin level and serum albumin of stunted children were significantly lower (p<0.05) than those in children of normal stature. Total iron binding capacity and serum transferrin of stunted children were significantly higher (p<0.05) than the values in children of normal stature. More than 29% of surveyed children were suffering from iron deficiency. Hemoglobin concentration was found to be strongly associated (p<0.001) with the nutritional status. Dietary intake of almost all nutrients in all age groups was found to be lower than the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) in both sexes. A mild iron deficiency was found in stunted Santal children. The stunting may be associated with the deficiency of specific nutrients such as iron and protein in surveyed Santal children.

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