Engle-Stone R, Aaron GJ, Huang J, Wirth JP, Namaste SML, Williams AM, Peerson JM, Rohner F, Varadhan R, Addo OY, Temple V, Rayco-Solon P, Macdonald B, Suchdev PS
June 2017 – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Due to a lack of information on the etiology of anemia, we evaluated predictors of anemia in preschool children (PSC) (age range: 6–59 mo) by country and infection-burden category. Cross-sectional data from 16 surveys (n = 29,293) from the Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project were analyzed separately and pooled by category of infection burden. We assessed relations between anemia (hemoglobin concentration <110 g/L) and severe anemia (hemoglobin concentration <70 g/L) and individual-level (age, anthropometric measures, micronutrient deficiencies, malaria, and inflammation) and household-level predictors; we also examined the proportion of anemia with concomitant iron deficiency (defined as an inflammation-adjusted ferritin concentration <12 μg/L). In multivariable pooled models, child age, iron deficiency, and stunting independently predicted anemia and severe anemia. Inflammation was generally associated with anemia in the high- and very high–infection groups but not in the low- and medium-infection groups. In PSC with anemia, 50%, 30%, 55%, and 58% of children had concomitant iron deficiency in low-, medium-, high-, and very high–infection categories, respectively. Results suggest anemia-control programs should address both iron deficiency and infections. The relative importance of factors that are associated with anemia varies by setting, and thus, country-specific data are needed to guide programs.