Prevalence of iron deficiency among schoolchildren of different socio-economic status in urban Turkey
PURPOSE To determine the prevalence of anaemia and iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) in Kahramanmaras, a province in the south-eastern Anatolia. METHODS The study was performed on 1491 persons of both sexes aged 2-69. All were volunteers. Haematological parameters were determined and haemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis was carried out in all subjects, and only for those with haemoglobin levels below normal were subsequent measurements of ferritin and Hb A2 made to detect iron deficiency and rule out beta-thalassaemia. RESULTS The means of all the haematological parameters for all age groups and sexes were found to be lower than the reference values given in the literature. Anaemia was found to be present in all age groups, especially in children aged 2-5 yr and women aged 19-40 yr (34.5% and 40.0%, respectively). IDA in the same age groups was 15.5% and 23.8%, respectively. CONCLUSION The high rate of IDA raises serious concern about nutritional disease risks in the region. An inexpensive oral iron therapy and education as to the importance of iron for their health would help to provide optimal health for the population concerned, especially for mothers-to-be and children.