Iron deficiency anemia and feeding practices in Albanian children

Ann Ig. Jan-Feb 2005;17(1):27-33.


Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional problem of humans. In northern Albania, nutritional deficiencies are widespread among children but there is a lack of biochemical data. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence rate of the iron deficiency anemia in a sample of northern Albanian children. A group of 112 children aged 6-60 months, recruited during the routine vaccinations, was enrolled in a cross-sectional health examination survey that included venou blood measurements of iron status. The survey was conducted during 2000 in Lezha District. The mean age was 17.1 +/- 10 months, the majority of the children were living in rural areas (61%), 47.8% were female. The mean level of hemoglobin was lower than the reference value (10.3 +/- 1.1). Iron deficiency Anemia occurred in 47 children (47%) and more likely during the first year of the life (51%). Fifty seven children were fed with whole cow's milk, among them 44 were IDA. The risk value to be anemic or iron deficient for infants aged 6 to 12 months that were fed with whole cow's milk before the fourth months of life was high (OR = 6.2 (C.L.1.0-38)). In conclusion, the high prevalence of IDA and the relationship with early feeding of whole cow's milk suggest to consider iron deficiency in infancy and childhood in Albania as an important nutritional public health problem and to implement strategies for his detection, treatment and prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albania / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / blood
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prevalence


  • Ferritins
  • Iron