Objective: The purpose of this study was: 1. To estimate the prevalence of iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia in preschool Arabic children of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and 2. To determine the risk factors associated with these conditions in this population of children.
Methods: From April through to October 2000 a questionnaire and capillary blood survey was carried out in one primary health care (PHC) centre of Al Ain, UAE. Children whose capillary hemoglobin (Hb) or mean cell volume (MCV) results fell below predetermined cutoffs were offered venous blood workup. An additional sample of children with capillary blood results above those cutoffs were offered the same workup. All blood sampling was completed by May 2001.
Results: Five hundred and eight parents were questionnaired and 496 children capillary blood tested. Of the 320 venous blood tested, 315 were analyzed, in relation to questionnaire responses, using univariate analysis and logistic regression. Anemia, iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia were found in an estimated 36.1%, 26%, and 9.9% of this population of children. Age was a significant independent predictor of both iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia. Mother's current pregnancy was an additional predictor of iron deficiency anemia.
Conclusion: The prevalences of iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia in this population of children were consistent with other reports from the region. Child's age and mother's current pregnancy were predictors of iron deficiency anemia. These findings have important implications for antenatal and childcare both in hospital and primary health care clinics.