Prevalence of malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency in Nigerian preschool children subsisting on high intakes of carotenes

  • Adelekan D
  • Fatusi A
  • Fakunle J
 et al. 
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Abstract

The prevalence of malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency was determined in 204 preschool children (3-57 months old) recruited from 2 rural communities of Atakumosa Local Government Area of Osun State in South West Nigeria. Dietary vitamin A intake was estimated from frequency of consumption of locally available vitamin A containing food items. Vitamin A status of the children was assessed from the concentration of retinol in their plasma. Nutritional status was assessed by measuring height and weight and comparing the results with international reference standards. The prevalence of stunting (low height for age) was 60.8% while the prevalence of wasting (low weight for height) was 7.4% and of underweight (low weight for age) 27.5%. Dietary vitamin A intake seemed to be adequate in the children. Intake of vitamin A was predominantly from plant sources. At least 43% of the children consumed carotene rich red palm oil 6 or more times per week in contrast to less than 1% who consumed eggs or milk for 6 or more times per week. Only 11.3% of the children had plasma retinol concentrations that were 0.70µmol/litre. It was concluded that childhood malnutrition can coexist with adequate dietary vitamin A intakes or vitamin A status.

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