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Open Access Effectiveness of intermittent iron treatment of two- to six-year-old Jordanian children with iron-deficiency anemia

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Background. Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem in young children among vulnerable populations in Jordan. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of intermittent iron supplementation in improving iron status. Such a study has not been carried out in 2- to-6-year-old Jordanian children diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia in a clinical setting.

Objective. To study the effectiveness of intermittent versus daily iron treatment in a clinical setting in 2- to 6-year-old Jordanian children with iron-deficiency anemia.

Methods. About 4,400 children aged 2 to 6 years who visited Prince Hashim Military Hospital in Zarqa, Jordan, from August 2000 to June 2001 were screened for age, general health, and birthweight. About 10% of these children were screened for anemia, using complete blood count (defined as a hemoglobin level ≤ 10.5 g/dL, and a mean corpuscular volume ≤ 75 fL). Anemic children underwent further screening for iron deficiency, defined as serum ferritin level ≤ 12  g/L. Children with iron-deficiency anemia, as indicated by hemoglobin ≤ 10.5 g/dL, mean corpuscular volume ≤ 75 fL, and serum ferritin ≤ 12  g/L, or as indicated by mean corpuscular volume ≤ 75 fL and hemoglobin ≤ 10.5 g/dL, were enrolled in the study after informed oral consent by their parents. Study children (n = 134) were assigned randomly to one of three groups. Subjects in group 1 (n = 45), group 2 (n = 45), and group 3 (n = 44) received iron treatment daily, weekly, and twice weekly, respectively. Out of 134 children recruited for the study, only 63 (39 boys and 24 girls) completed the 3-month treatment period. All of the children received medicinal iron drops at a dosage of 5 mg elemental iron as ferrous sulfate per kilogram of body weight. The parents also received nutritional counseling.

Results. At the end of treatment, hemoglobin, serum ferritin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration increased significantly in all groups with no significant differences between groups. The increases in hemoglobin in groups 1, 2, and 3 were 2.47 ± 0.17, 2.12 ± 0.18, and 2.18 ± 0.18 g/dL, respectively. Measurements of final serum ferritin concentration were available for only 12, 12, and 10 children in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In all children who completed the study, except for one in group 1, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, and serum ferritin reached normal values in response to iron treatment.

Conclusions. Weekly and twice-weekly iron therapy with 5 mg elemental iron as ferrous sulfate per kilogram of body weight accompanied by nutritional counseling was as effective as daily iron therapy in correcting iron-deficiency anemia in 2- to 6-year-old children under the clinical conditions of this study.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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