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Iron-deficiency anemia and infection are deterrents to optimal child health in many developing countries. We investigated the prevalence of anemia and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which reflects chronicbackground infection, recent illness, and diet for 190 children aged 10 to 13 years in 1995 in a Nile Delta village. The children exhibited a high prevalence of anemia (61.6%) and elevated ESR (54.9%). One-third of the children reported a minor illness within the past week, and more than 75 per cent had one or more parasites evident in stool or urine samples. There was no relationship of socioeconomic or dietary indicators to anemia or elevated ESR. Mothers'evaluation of the child's health status had no relationship to anemia or elevated ESR, with 43.6 per cent of mothers reporting their child's health status as excellent or good. Maternal report of the child's health as poor was related to recent illness. We speculate that where anemia and chronic infection are hyperendemic, both children and mothers may become habituated to the associated symptoms and consider them normal.

Keywords: Egypt; Iron-deficiency anemia; children; erythrocyte sedimentation rate; maternal perception of health

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University, Mesa, Arizona, USA 2: University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California, USA 3: Child Health Department, National Research Centre, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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