Background and aim: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) constitutes a major nutritional concern in developing countries. It contributes significantly to the morbidity and mortality of under-five children and can result in impaired resistance to infection as well as increased risk of death. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of VAD among Southwestern Nigerian children.
Methods: Apparently healthy children aged between 6 months and 5 years were recruited for the study. Their serum retinol levels were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography.
Results: Of the 170 children studied, nine (5.3%) had VAD, although none had severe VAD. The prevalence of VAD did not show statistically significant variation with age (P = 0.159), sex (P = 1.000), social class (P = 0.740), immunisation status (P = 0.197) or nutritional status (P = 0.090).
Conclusion: The prevalence of VAD among Nigerian children appears to have reduced, compared with previous reports; however, further studies are required to assess the current national prevalence, so as to design programmes that can achieve further reduction in the proportion of children affected.
Keywords: Nigeria; Under-five children; Vitamin A deficiency.