Prevalence and determinants of vitamin A deficiency among Brazilian children under 2 years of age from the 2006 National Demographic Health Survey

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Konstantyner, Tulio [UNIFESP]
Warkentin, Sarah [UNIFESP]
Taddei, Jose Augusto de Aguiar Carrazedo [UNIFESP]
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Background. Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent among infants, primarily in undeveloped communities, compromising immune system competence and raising morbidity and mortality rates. Understanding the risk factors associated with vitamin A deficiency is essential to create informed health policies.Objective. To identify and quantify risk factors for vitamin A deficiency in a probabilistic sample of children under 2 years of age participating in a national survey in Brazil and to provide a comprehensive risk factor model to inform health strategies and policies.Methods. We analyzed data from a cross-sectional study of 1,436 children from the 2006 Brazilian National Survey on Demography and the Health of Women and Children. Vitamin A deficiency was defined as retinol levels below 0.70 mu g/dL.Results. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency was estimated at 16.1% (95% CI, 12.7 to 20.2). The Poisson regression model identified three risk factors for vitamin A deficiency: urban residence (prevalence ratio [PR]=1.47, p=.023), no consumption of animal meat within the past week (PR=1.41, p=.031), and a mother older than 25 years (PR=1.31, p=.048).Conclusions. Strategies to control infant vitamin A deficiency should include health promotion and nutrition education for families from all socioeconomic levels. Improvements in lifestyle quality, based on adequate food consumption by all infants, must be achieved by communities, especially in urban areas and for older mothers.
Food And Nutrition Bulletin. Boston: Int Nutrition Foundation, v. 35, n. 4, p. 422-430, 2014.