The pattern for common anaemia among Saudi children

J Trop Pediatr. 1999 Aug;45(4):221-5. doi: 10.1093/tropej/45.4.221.


Anaemia is of frequent occurrence in children in different parts of the world and poses a significant health problem. A few isolated reports indicate that anaemia occurs at a high prevalence rate in Saudi Arabia though the actual prevalence in several regions is not known. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of different types of anaemias in Saudi children in different areas of the country. Blood samples were collected from 5381 children less than 14 years of age, and haematological analysis and red cell indices were determined. The results of haematological parameters were used to group the children as anaemic (Hb < 11.2 g/dl) and non-anaemic (Hb > 11.2 g/dl) and the red cell indices were used to classify the anaemia as hypochromic-microcytic, normochromic-normocytic, and normochromic-macrocytic. The overall prevalence of anaemia in Saudi children was 24.8 per cent. The prevalence was highest in the children from the Eastern province (41.3 per cent) and lowest in the central province (16.5 per cent). Within each province differences were obvious in the prevalence of anaemias in the different areas. The majority of the anaemia in the eastern and south-western provinces was hypochromic-microcytic, while in the north-western and central provinces normochromic-normocytic anaemia occurred most frequently. Macrocytic anaemia was not encountered in any of the screened areas of the central province and many areas of the eastern province. However, in north-western and south-western provinces it occurred at a frequency of 0.15-3.4 per cent. The data show that anaemia is a frequent problem in Saudi children living in different parts of Saudi Arabia and emphasizes the need for nutritional and genetic assessment to determine the nutritional contributions to anaemias and hence the correction of nutritional anaemias by proper dietary intervention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Macrocytic / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology