Assessment of vitamin a status and anthropometry among school age children (6-12 years) in aba north local government area, Abia state, Nigeria
Oguizu AD, Ikwunze CF
Vitamin A deficiency is a serious and widespread public health problem in developing countries. This research was conducted in Aba North local Government Area of Abia State, to determine the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency among school age children (6-12 years). The survey also incorporates food consumption, nutrition survey and anthropometry. A total of one hundred and sixty children were randomly selected from public and private schools in the area. About 20% of the population had their blood samples collected by venepuncture. Spectrophotometric method of ultraviolet destruction of vitamin A was used for determination of serum vitamin A levels. On their weight-for-age scores, 100% of the subjects were normal. For the height-for-age scores, 0.6% were stunted. For the BMI-for-age; 1.3% were overweight, 1.3% were obese while 97.4% were within the normal range. No subject was wasted. For vitamin A status, about 25% of the males and 56.2% females had high serum retinol levels. 25.5% females and 50% males had adequate serum retinol levels, while 12.5% males and 6.2% females had very high serum retinol level. However, 6.2% females had a low serum retinol level. Widespread Vitamin A supplementation, fortification of staple foods, activities of international agencies in checkmating vitamin A deficiency, promotion of exclusive breast feeding as well as awareness and consumption of Vitamin A rich foods could all have had bearing on the results observed in the study area.