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Individual, maternal and household risk factors for anaemia among young children in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional study
Authors: Moschovis PP, Wiens MO, Arlington L, Antsygina O, Hayden D, Dzik W, Kiwanuka JP, Christiani DC, and Hibberd PL
Source: BMJ Open, 8(5): e019654; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019654
Topic(s): Anemia
Child health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: MAY 2018
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Anaemia affects the majority of children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Previous studies of risk factors for anaemia have been limited by sample size, geography and the association of many risk factors with poverty. In order to measure the relative impact of individual, maternal and household risk factors for anaemia in young children, we analysed data from all SSA countries that performed haemoglobin (Hb) testing in the Demographic and Health Surveys. DESIGN AND SETTING: This cross-sectional study pooled household-level data from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 27 SSA between 2008 and 2014. PARTICIPANTS: 96?804 children age 6-59 months. RESULTS: The prevalence of childhood anaemia (defined as Hb <11?g/dL) across the region was 59.9%, ranging from 23.7% in Rwanda to 87.9% in Burkina Faso. In multivariable regression models, older age, female sex, greater wealth, fewer household members, greater height-for-age, older maternal age, higher maternal body mass index, current maternal pregnancy and higher maternal Hb, and absence of recent fever were associated with higher Hb in tested children. Demographic, socioeconomic factors, family structure, water/sanitation, growth, maternal health and recent illnesses were significantly associated with the presence of childhood anaemia. These risk factor groups explain a significant fraction of anaemia (ranging from 1.0% to 16.7%) at the population level. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from our analysis of risk factors for anaemia in SSA underscore the importance of family and socioeconomic context in childhood anaemia. These data highlight the need for integrated programmes that address the multifactorial nature of childhood anaemia.