The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics 2013 , Vol 55 , Num 1
A Community-Based Iron Supplementation Program, “Iron-Like Turkey”, and the Following Prevalence of Anemia among Infants Aged 12-23 Months
1Department of Pediatrics, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, 2Ministry of Health, 3Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Hacettepe University Faculty of Health Sciences, and 4Department of Pediatric Hematology, Diskapi Children’s Research and Training Hospital, Ankara, Turkey. E-mail: During the second year of the “Iron-like Turkey” Project, in which all children aged 4-6 months in Turkey receive iron supplementation for 5 months, we aimed to assess the utilization of iron supplementation in the field, as well as the prevalence of anemia in healthy infants aged 12-23 months, while determining a variety of sociodemographic and nutritional factors for anemia in three of the 12 NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) regions (regions with the highest, lowest and middle under-5 malnutrition levels). In a community-based, cross-sectional survey using a multi-staged, weighted, cluster-selected sample, children aged 12-23 months with birthweight ≥2500 g, no chronic illness, no history of blood disease, and from term and singleton pregnancy were enrolled; 1589 children met the criteria. The mean±SD age of children surveyed was 17.8±3.6 months. Of the parents, 72.4% claimed that their physician had recommended iron supplementation, and 68.8% had given supplementation to their children. Overall prevalence of anemia was 7.3%. Multivariate analysis revealed that the frequency of anemia decreased significantly in older infants, when supplementation was recommended by health providers, when an infant was breastfed longer than 6 months, and when the mother received iron supplementation during pregnancy. However, anemia prevalence increased when the infant received iron supplementation at a later age (³9 months), lived in a crowded family (³6 persons), and when the mother had a history of iron deficiency anemia. Anemic infants had significantly lower z scores of weight for age than non-anemic ones. This survey suggests that iron supplementation during pregnancy, initiation of iron supplementation in infants at 4-6 months of age, effective counseling on supplementation, subsequent compliance, support of breastfeeding, and effective training of health care personnel are effective strategies for prevention of anemia in the community. Keywords : anemia, infants, iron supplementation, “Iron-like Turkey” project, prevalence, nutrition.
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