Coexistence of Obesity and Anemia in Children Between 2 and 18 Years of Age in Mexico

Published in: Boletín Médico del Hospital Infantil de México, v. 68, no. 6, Nov.-Dec. 2011, p. 431-437

Posted on RAND.org on November 01, 2011

by Pompilio Torres Ornelas, Homero Martinez

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BACKGROUND: According to the most recent national nutrition survey (ENSANUT 2006) in Mexico, 18.4% of the population aged 5 years or older was obese, and 19.6% of those children aged 1 year or older were anemic. Although these are two of the most highly prevalent conditions, coexistence of both conditions has not been previously described at the national level. METHODS: We carried out a secondary data analysis to determine the frequency of anemia in different categories of body mass index (BMI) and the frequency in which obesity and anemia co-occurred in children between 2 and 18 years of age. We included data from 29,893 children <18 years of age. RESULTS: The highest prevalence of anemia was found among children with low BMI (13.1%), whereas in obese children the corresponding prevalence was 9.6%. Only 1.3% of children presented obesity and anemia, and its coexistence was observed mainly in children <5 years of age (p = 0.001). Being female and being <9 years of age were the two factors significantly associated with the phenomenon under study. CONCLUSIONS: The risk for coexistence of obesity and anemia varied according to the gender and age of the children. Integral nutrition education programs are required to simultaneously address both of these issues.

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