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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence and severity of anemia among school children in Jimma Town, Southwest Ethiopia

Selomon Assefa1, Andualem Mossie2* and Leja Hamza3

Author Affiliations

1 Lecturer (MSc, Physiologist), Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ambo University, Ambo, Ethiopia

2 Associate Professor (PhD, Physiologist), Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

3 Assistant Professor (MD, Internist), Department of Internal Medicine, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

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BMC Hematology 2014, 14:3  doi:10.1186/2052-1839-14-3

Published: 16 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Anemia is a major health problem worldwide. Because of health and socioeconomic problems, the prevalence of anemia is higher in developing countries. Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable groups to anemia. The aim of the present study was to determine the magnitude of anemia among school children.

Methods

A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in January 2011 on 423 children, aged 6–14 years, selected through systematic random sampling method. Sociodemographic and anthropometric data were collected using a pre-tested questionnaire. Capillary blood was taken from the fingertip of each child and hemoglobin was measured using HaemoCue digital photometer. All the necessary safety measures were taken during blood collection. Anthropometric indicators were measured using WHO’s guideline. Data analysis was made using SPSS Version 16.0 for Windows. The association between predictors and outcome variables were measured by a stepwise logistic regression model. Ethical permission was obtained; consent of the parents/guardian was taken and confidentiality was maintained.

Result

A total of 404 children were studied. The mean age was 10.21(SD ± 1.89) years. The proportion of females was 217(53.7%). The mean hemoglobin level for both sexes was 11.59(SD ± 1.97 g/dl). The current prevalence of anemia was 152(37.6%), out of which, 73(18.1%) had mild while 79(19.6%) of them had moderate anemia. The prevalence of anemia among the age group of 6–11 years was 118(40.5%) while the prevalence among the group of 12–14 years old children was 34(30.1%). Among the selected variables in the logistic regression analysis, low family income [OR = 4.925, 95% CI(1.063,22.820)], mothers’ education [OR = 4.621, 95% CI(1.383,15.439)], intake of plant food [OR = 3.847, 95% CI(2.068, 7.157)] and intake of animal food [OR = 2.37, 95% CI(1.040,5.402)] were significantly and independently associated with anemia.

Conclusion

Anemia is a moderate public health problem in the study area. Family income, educational status of parents and inadequate plant and animal food intake are the predictors of anemia. Improving the economic status of the family, women education and health education about balanced animal and plant food consumption are recommended strategies to reduce the burden of anemia.

Keywords:
Hemoglobin; Anemia; School children; Prevalence