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Am J Clin Nutr. 1977 Jul;30(7):1175-84.

Vitamin A deficiency and anemia in Central American children.


In order to investigate the role of vitamin A nutriture in the prevalence of anemia in Central America, a retrospective evaluation of the data of the six Institute of Nutrition of Central Americal and Panama/Office for International Research nutrition surveys of Central America and Panama has been made. Three groups of children; 1 to 4, 5 to 8, and 9 to 12 years old, living between 0 and 2,5000 feet above sea level were studeid. Several biochemical and dietary parameters related to anemia were corrleated with plasma levels of retinol. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years showed a significant positive correlation between hemoglobin and plasma retinol. Children aged 1 to 4 years did not show a similar correlation. In children of all age groups there were positive correlations between plasma retinol and serum iron. Percent saturation of transferrin was also found to be lower when plasma retinol levels were low. Children with an adequate intake of iron, as classified by both dietary information and socioeconomic level, showed a significant positive correlation between plasma retinol levels and iron in their serum. In contrast, no correlation was found when dietary iron was low. In the light of these findings, a possible relationship between vitamin A deficiency and anemia is suggested.

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