Reduced Levels of Some Iron Parameters of Protein Energy Malnourished Children in Calabar, Nigeria

Naomi Ernest, Patience Akpan, Emmanuel Uko


Hunger and malnutrition are among the most devastating problems dominating the health of the world’s poorest nations. This research was carried out to assess iron related parameters of protein energy malnourished children in Calabar. One hundred (100) malnourished children within the ages of 1-10 years and admitted in the Paediatric clinic of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar were enrolled for this study. Fifty (50) apparently healthy children of similar age were used as controls. Assays were performed using standard methods. The mean values of haemoglobin, packed cell volume and serum ferritin obtained from protein energy malnourished (PEM) children were significantly lower (P<0.05) when compared to values for control subjects. Conversely, the serum iron and transferrin saturation of the test group were significantly higher (P<0.05) than that of the controls. Serum ferritin level of the protein energy malnourished children who were 6-10 years of age was significantly lower (P<0.05) than their counterparts who were 1-5 years old. Iron parameters were observed to be the same irrespective of the type of PEM. The body mass index (BMI) of the control was higher than that of the test group. The iron stores of protein energy malnourished children has been observed to be significantly reduced (P<0.05) when compared with apparently healthy children. Poor diet and the low socio-economic status of the parents are implicated.

Key words: Protein energy malnutrition, iron, kwashiorkor, marasmus

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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