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Aaron J. Cronin '98

Assessing the Incidence of Iron Deficiency Anemia in Guatemalan Infants

Abstract

Infantile iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most prevalent nutrient deficiency in the world1. In Guatemala, 26% of children 1- 5 years old suffered from IDA in 19952. Untreated, infant IDA leads to decreased psychomotor development and stunted growth3. The current incidence of IDA in 98 Guatemalan infants 6 – 36 months of age was assessed in an acute care, outpatient clinic. The subject sample included infant patients or infants accompanying a parent seeking medical attention. Data was collected from infants in three Guatemalan highland villages and analyzed by age, gender, hemoglobin, hematocrit, height, weight, and village of origin. Significant IDA was found in all ages, villages, and both genders. The incidence of IDA may be even greater in rural areas than suggested by the 1995 assessment, with 28% of males in this study being diagnosed with IDA. Altitude corrections for hemoglobin were not possible for the two highest villages; consequently, the incidence of anemia could be even higher than the results presented. Efforts to screen and treat IDA should be increased to correct this major disease in highland infants.

Faculty Mentor: Amy Olson, PhD, RD