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Livestock ownership is associated with higher odds of anaemia among preschool-aged children, but not women of reproductive age in Ghana
Authors: Jones AD, Colecraft EK, Awuah RB, Boatemaa S, Lambrecht NJ, Adjorlolo LK, and Wilson ML
Source: Maternal and Child Nutrition, e12604; DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12604
Topic(s): Anemia
Child health
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: APR 2018
Abstract: Livestock ownership may influence anaemia through complex and possibly contradictory mechanisms. In this study, we aimed to determine the association of household livestock ownership with anaemia among women aged 15-49 years and children aged 6-59 months in Ghana and to examine the contribution of animal source foods (ASFs) to consumption patterns as a potential mechanism mediating this association. We analysed data on 4,441 women and 2,735 children from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and 16,772 households from the Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6. Haemoglobin measurements were used to define anaemia (non-pregnant women: <120 g/L; children: <110 g/L). Child- and household-level ASF consumption data were collected from 24-hour food group intake and food consumption and expenditure surveys, respectively. In multiple logistic regression models, household livestock ownership was associated with anaemia among children (OR, 95% CI: 1.5 [1.1, 2.0]), but not women (1.0 [0.83, 1.2]). Household ownership of chickens was associated with higher odds of anaemia among children (1.6 [1.2, 2.2]), but ownership of other animal species was not associated with anaemia among women or children. In path analyses, we observed no evidence of mediation of the association of household livestock ownership with child anaemia by ASF consumption. Ownership of livestock likely has limited importance for consumption of ASFs among young children in Ghana and may in fact place children at an increased risk of anaemia. Further research is needed to elucidate if and how pathogen exposure associated with livestock rearing may underlie this increased risk of anaemia. KEYWORDS: Ghana; anaemia; animal source foods; livestock; malaria; poultry