Iron Deficiency Is Unacceptably High in Refugee Children from Burma

Teresa M. Kemmer, Maria E. Bovill, Wantanee Kongsomboon, Steven J. Hansch, Karen L. Geisler, Carrie Cheney, Bettina K. Shell-Duncan, Adam Drewnowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) in refugees is reported to be among the major medical problems worldwide. Because food rations are typically inadequate in iron, long-term reliance is a key predictor of anemia among displaced people. Comprehensive nutritional assessments of refugee children from Burma have not previously been completed. Refugee children aged 6-59 mo were studied to determine 1) the prevalences of anemia, iron deficiency (ID) and IDA and 2) the factors associated with anemia and ID. Cluster sampling in three camps and convenience sampling in two additional camps were used. Hemoglobin (Hb) levels were measured and μmol zinc protoporphyrin/mol heme were determined in 975 children. Logistic regression analyses (95% CI) determined predictors of anemia and ID. The prevalences of IDA, anemia and ID in these refugee children were 64.9, 72.0 and 85.4%, respectively. Predictors of anemia included young age (P <0.001), food ration lasting

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4143-4149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anemia
  • Iron deficiency
  • Micronutrient
  • Refugee
  • Zinc protoporphyrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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