HOUSEHOLD AND MATERNAL DETERMINANTS OF VITAMIN A AND IRON STATUS IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN IN HAITI WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO PARTICIPATION IN WOMEN's GROUPS
JS Chitharanjan, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. S. Dubuisson, Save the Children, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, BA Clevidence, ER Wiley, ARS-USDA Phytonutrients Labs, Beltsville, USA, RJ Woods, Tufts University, USDA-HNRCA Mineral Bioavailability Lab, Boston, USA AND P Simon, ARS-USDA Vegetable Crops Research Lab, Madison, USA.
|Children being evaluated for Vitamin A deficiency symptoms|
There are no recent, national data on the vitamin A or iron status of Haitians. The last national nutrition survey which included vitamin A status determination, 1974-75, found high prevalence of corneal scars indicating a public health problem as defined by WHO. Save the Children conducts various programs in the Maissade Department through women's groups aimed at improving literacy, nutrition education, microenterprise/credit, agriculture, and reproductive health. Although this has never been assessed specifically in this Haitian population, literature indicates each of these programs has a positive impact on child health. To evaluate the impact of women's groups on children's nutritional status, 550 households with children, ages of 24-60 months, were randomly chosen for participation in this study. Half of the mother's participating in this study belonged to a women's group and half did not participate in women's groups. The household survey included women's participation in programs, socioeconomic data, gardening information, food accessibility information, mother's knowledge of treatment for diseases, mother's nutritional knowledge as well as health and diet information about the child. Children and parents were then invited to a free clinical evaluation where 439 children completed the physical, anthropometric and eye examination. Blood samples were collected from 362 children for carotenoid and retinol analysis. Of these children, 241 were also sampled for iron and iodine analysis. This study represents the first comprehensive analysis of nutritional status of children in the Central Plateau Region of Haiti. Evidence for significant vitamin A deficiency was found. Initial results indicate 98% of children had marginal vitamin A status (vitamin A concentration below 20 (µg/dL) and 58% had vitamin A deficiency (vitamin A concentration below 10 (µg/dL). Nutritional status of the children will be reported. Correlations between nutritional status, including carotenoid, retinol and iron status with household survey data and women's groups participation will be discussed. Results of the study will be presented.
November 5, 1999