Anaemia and nutritional habits of school-children in Croatia

Anaemia is considered to be a significant public health problem, both in non-developing and in industrialized countries. The goal of this research is to determine the prevalence of anaemia in school-aged children in Croatia and to evaluate their dietary habbits. The HemoCue system was used as quantitative method for determination of hemoglobin levels, based on the cyanomethemoglobin method. Hemoglobin levels were determined in 405 first grade students and in 482 seventh grade students at elementary school. Food frequency and 24-hour recall interwiew methods were used for evaluation of food consumption and dietary habits. 256 sixth and seventh grade students were interwiewed and their dietary habits assessed. According to the results, 2.2% of children in the first grade and 3.5% of children in the seventh grade have levels of hemoglobin below 110 g/L, which represents mild anaemia according to WHO criteria. Additionally 14.1% of children in the first grade and 15.6% of children in the seventh grade have levels of hemoglobin between 110 and 120 g/L, or according to the criteria - moderate anaemia. It is also recorded that in there are significant differences in anaemia frequencies between the counties as well as between the genders. Girls have lower mean haemoglobin levels and also a higher frequency of anaemia. The results of food consumption and dietary habit surveys show that the daily intake of energy, macronutrients, vitamins B and C is adequate, but the daily intake of vitamin A, calcium and iron is below the recommended daily amounts. Children prefer to consume refined foods and soft drinks which have a negative impact on the resorption and bioavailability of iron. At the same time they consume less milk, fruits and vegetables.
Category: Clinical observations - professional paper
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