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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317728

Research Project: Novel Functions and Biomarkers for Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Regional, socioeconomic and dietary risk factors for vitamin B-12 deficiency differ from those for folate deficiency in Cameroonian women and children

Author
item Shahab-ferdows, Setareh - University Of California
item Engle-stone, Reina - University Of California
item Hampel, Daniela - University Of California
item Ndjebayi, Alex - Helen Keller International (HKI), United States
item Nankap, Martin - Helen Keller International (HKI), United States
item Brown, Kenneth - University Of California
item Allen, Lindsay - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In order to plan food fortification in Cameroon, vitamin B12 and folate intake and status was assessed in a national survey from randomly assigned households in clusters of different regions in Cameroon (South, North, and two largest cities Yaoundé/Douala). Plasma samples from Women and their children (n=396) were analyzed for B12 and folate; breast milk was analyzed for B12. While the folate and B12 intake patterns were similar for women and children and lower in rural compared to urban areas. Folate intake was higher in the North and among women with low SES while B12 intake was highest in Yaoundé/Douala and those with higher SES. Overall, 18% and 29% of women and 8% and 30% of children were B12 (<221pmol/L) and folate (<10nmol/L) deficient respectively. Breast milk vitamin B12 mean concentrations were significantly lower (67 pmol/L) in the North compared to the South (221 pmol/L) or Yaoundé/Douala (287 pmol/L), and correlated with vitamin B12 intake. Thus, folate and vitamin B12 status varies depending on the regions and the socioeconomic status of the population, therefore different strategies may be needed to control deficiency of these nutrients in different regions of Cameroon.

Technical Abstract: Background: For planning a food fortification program in Cameroon, data on vitamin B-12 and folate intake and status were needed to guide levels of fortification, identify potential food vehicles, and a baseline for evaluation. Objective: The purpose was to evaluate vitamin B-12 and folate intake and status, and risk factors for deficiency prior to a national fortification program in Cameroon. Methods: A nationally representative cross-sectional cluster survey was conducted in three ecologic zones of Cameroon (South, North, and two largest cities Yaoundé/Douala) and information collected from 10 households (HH) in each of 30 randomly selected clusters per zone. In a subset of women and their 12-59mo old children (n=396 pairs) intake of foods, folate and vitamin B-12 was measured and plasma vitamin B-12 and folate, and breast milk vitamin B-12 analyzed. Results: Folate and B-12 intake patterns were similar for women and children. Vitamin B-12 intake was highest in Yaoundé/Douala and those with higher SES, and lower in rural vs. urban areas. In the subsample, 18% and 29% of women and 8% and 30% of children were vitamin B-12 (<221pmol/L) and folate (<10nmol/L) deficient respectively. Breast milk vitamin B-12 ranged from 55-291 pmol/L with significantly lower mean concentrations (67 pmol/L) in the North than the South (221 pmol/L) or Yaoundé/Douala (287 pmol/L), and correlated with vitamin B-12 intake. Folate intake was higher in the North and among women with low socioeconomic status (SES) while vitamin B-12 intake was highest in Yaoundé/Douala and those with higher SES, and lower in rural vs. urban areas. Conclusions: Folate intake and status are inadequate in women and young children in Yaoundé/Douala while low vitamin B-12 intake and status are more common in poor and rural areas, especially in the north. Different strategies may be needed to control deficiency of these nutrients in different regions of Cameroon.