Potential Contribution of Iron Deficiency and Multiple Factors to Anemia Among 6- to 72-Month-Old Children in the Kokang Area of Myanmar

Ai Zhao Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Hongchong Gao Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Bo Li Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Kai Yu Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Naing Naing Win Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Yumei Zhang Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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Peiyu Wang Department of Social Science and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China; School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kunming, Yunnan, People's Republic of China; Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar; Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China

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The prevalence of anemia among children in Myanmar has been reported to be among the highest in the world. This study was conducted to determine 1) the prevalence of anemia in preschool children and 2) risk factors associated with anemia. A total of 138 children aged from 6 to 72 months were recruited through cluster sampling from six villages in Kokang. Hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, blood trace elements, and anthropometric indicators were measured. Feces samples were collected to examine for the presence of ascarid eggs. The overall prevalence of anemia in children was 61.6%, including 10.9% with severe anemia. Meanwhile, high prevalence of stunting (40.0%), underweight (22.4%), wasting (6.3%), and small head circumference (6.7%) was found. Children with anemia were more prone to stunting. Children with severe anemia and moderate anemia had significantly lower blood iron and zinc levels than children without anemia (P < 0.001 and P = 0.007). The prevalence of ascarid infection was 64.9%; however, it was not associated with anemia. Drinking spring water was positively associated with anemia (odds ratio [OR] = 6.368). This study demonstrated that anemia is an important public health problem among children from the Kokang area. Iron deficiency and drinking spring water may be the important causes of anemia among children.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Yumei Zhang, Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, People's Republic of China. E-mail: zhangyumei111@gmail.com

Authors' addresses: Ai Zhao and Peiyu Wang, Department of Social Medicine and Health Education, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China, E-mails: aizhaobjmu@gmail.com and xiaochaai@163.com. Hongchong Gao, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People's Republic of China, E-mail: sisystone@gmail.com. Bo Li, Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Yunnan, China, E-mail: boli_hu@163.com. Kai Yu and Yumei Zhang, Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China, E-mails: kaiyunestle@163.com and zhangyumei111@gmail.com. Naing Naing Win, Health Poverty Action Eastern Asia Program Office, Kokang, Myanmar, E-mail: naingnaingwin_hpa@gmail.com.

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