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Childhood anemia in populations residing at different geographical altitudes of Arequipa, Peru: A descriptive and retrospective study

Anemia infantil en poblaciones que residen a diferentes altitudes geográficas de Arequipa, Perú: estudio descriptivo y retrospectivo


Objective To identify the characteristics of anemia in children living at different geographical altitude in the Arequipa Region of Peru.

Methods We did a descriptive and retrospective study. The population consisted of 106 499 children under five years of age living in the Arequipa Region at different geographical altitude and receiving care by the Ministry of Health of Arequipa. Of these, 32 454 had anemia (30.5%). Socio-demographic data related to age, province, and beneficiary of the Comprehensive Health System program, home visits, and growth and development were obtained, in addition to data regarding anemia such as frequency, hemoglobin, and severity.

Results The results were categorized by the geographical altitude of origin of children under 0 to 59 months of age and hemoglobin levels according to geographical altitude. Of the sample studied, the frequency of anemia at different geographical altitudes of Arequipa in children under five for the 2017 to 2019 period was: 18.7% at 0 to 999 meters above sea level; 29.6% at 1000 to 1999 meters; 31.6% at 2000 to 2999 meters; 42.9% at 3000 to 3999 meters; and 54.4% at 4000 to 4999 meters. There was a higher prevalence of anemia when the geographic altitude correction factor was used.

Conclusions A significant statistical relationship (p < 0.05) was observed between the corrected hemoglobin according to the World Health Organization parameters and the altitude at which children with anemia live: the higher the geographical altitude, the greater the anemia in children. Supplementation programs should be included during home visits and at the time of evaluation of children's growth and development.

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