Factors associated with Hb concentration in children aged 6-59 months in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil.
OBJECTIVE To determine the prevalence of anemia in children 6-59 months old in Pernambuco, a state in northeastern Brazil, so as to help guide health and nutrition policies there. METHODS In 1997 a representative sample of 777 young children had their hemoglobin concentration measured. The sampling process was in three stages. First, 18 municipalities were randomly selected to represent the state and its three geographic areas (metropolitan region of Recife, urban interior, and rural interior). Next, using census lists, 45 census sectors were randomly chosen. Finally, 777 children aged 6-59 months old were selected. Blood was collected by venipuncture, and hemoglobin was measured with a portable hemoglobinometer. In the analysis, prevalence was weighted to reflect the census age distribution. RESULTS The prevalence of anemia among children 6-59 months old was 40.9% for the state as a whole. Prevalence in the metropolitan region of Recife was 39.6%, and it was 35.9% in the urban interior. The rural interior had the highest prevalence, 51.4%. Prevalence was twice as high in children aged 6-23 months as among those 24-59 months old, 61.8% vs. 31.0% (chi 2 = 77.9, P < 0.001). The mean hemoglobin concentrations in the younger and older age groups were 10.4 g/dL (standard deviation (SD) = 1.5) and 11.4 g/dL (SD = 1.4), respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between the sexes in terms of prevalence. CONCLUSIONS This is the first statewide assessment of anemia prevalence among young children in Brazil. Given the very high prevalence of anemia among the children studied in Pernambuco, especially those in the age group of 6-23 months, public health interventions are needed.