ASSESSMENT OF IRON, ZINC AND ANTHROPOMETRIC INDICES OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN IN OZUBULU, ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA ()
This study was aimed at assessing the iron, zinc and anthropometric indices of pre-school children aged 2 – 5 years in Ozubulu. A total of two hundred and forty (240) preschool children were randomly selected. Questionnaire, anthropometric measurements, biochemical analysis and 3–day weighed food intake were used for data collection. Two hundred and forty (240)questionnaires were distributed to mothers and caregivers of the selected children. Out of the 240 samples, sub samples of thirty children were randomly selected for biochemical assessment of iron and zinc status and for 3-day weighed food intake analysis. Iron status was assessed in terms of transferrinemia (serum iron, total iron binding capacity and percentage transferrin saturation) while zinc status was assessed using serum zinc. WHO child growth standard and NCHS reference were used as standards. The result showed that prevalence of underweight and wasting for children 2 – 5 years was 1.7% and 11.8%, respectively using WHO standard. The overall prevalence of underweight and wasting was 3.3% and 10%, respectively by NCHS reference. Stunting affected only 0.8% using WHO Standard while none was stunted by NCHS reference. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the pre-school children had low transferrinemia level (percentage transferring saturation <15 36.7=”” 63.3=”” and=”” children=”” had=”” normal=”” of=”” result=”” serum=”” showed=”” that=”” the=”” zinc=””>65μg/dl) and deficient (<65 span=””> μg/dl) zinc status respectively. The children took ≥143.3% and ≥ 155.5% of their FAO/WHO iron and zinc requirement values, respectively. Their zinc intakes was high but were mainly from plant staples. Intensified nutrition education, improved food processing and handling techniques and diversification of diet would drastically reduce malnutrition.
Malnutrition is one of the most important global health problems affecting large numbers of children in developing countries. The World Health Organization defines malnutrition as “the cellular imbalance between supply of nutrient and energy and body’s demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance and specific functions” (Blecker et al., 2000). Malnutrition is synonymous with protein- energy malnutrition (PEM) and signifies an imbalance between the supply of protein and energy and the body’s demand for these to ensure optimal growth and function. A range of inadequacy states occurs as a result of interaction of diet and nutritional requirement. Protein energy malnutrition (PEM) a consequence of various factors, is often related to poor quality of food, insufficient food intake, and severe and repeated infectious diseases, or, frequently, a combination of the three (de Onis and Blossner, 1997). The major outcomes of PEM during childhood may be classified in terms of morbidity, mortality, and psychological and intellectual development (Pollitt, Gorman, Engle, Martorell and Rivera, 1993) with important consequences in adult life.