Interactions between Micronutrient Status

Interrelationship between vitamin A, iodine and iron status in schoolchildren in Shoa Region, Central Ethiopia

Zewdie Wolde-Gebriela1, Clive E. Westa2*, Haile Gebrua1, Amha-Selassie Tadessea1, Tezera Fissehaa1, Petros Gabrea1, Chernet Aboyea1, Gonfa Ayanaa3 and Joseph G. A. J. Hautvasta2

a1 Ethiopian Nutrition Institute, PO Box 5654, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

a2 Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen Agricultural University, PO Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands

a3 National Health Research Institute, PO Box 1242, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


A total of 14740 schoolchildren in seven provinces of Shoa Administrative Region in Central Ethiopia were surveyed for the prevalence of goitre, xerophthalmia and anaemia. Haemoglobin and packed cell volume were assessed in 966 children in one province while an in-depth study was conducted on 344 children in the same province and two others. Goitre, xerophthalmia (Bitot's spots) and clinical anaemia were observed in 34·2, 0·91 and 18·6% respectively of the children. Most biochemical variables were within the normal range while those of haemoglobin (Hb), mean corpuscular Hb concentration (MCHC) and urinary I excretion were lower, and mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular Hb (MCH), and immunoglobulins G and M were higher. Hb was strongly correlated with retinol. ferritin, MCHC, MCH, packed cell volume and erythrocyte count while retinol formed a triad with transthyretin (TTR) and retinol-binding protein (RBP) which were all correlated with one another. Total and free thyroxin and total and free triiodothyronine were positively correlated as were the concentrations of the total and free hormones. Thyrotropin (TSH) was negatively correlated with total and free thyroxin and positively correlated with free triiodothyronine. Thyroxin and triiodothyronine in both free and combined forms were all correlated with thyroxin-binding globulin which in turn was negatively correlated with the triad retinol, RBP and TTR. The triad was also negatively correlated with C-reactive protein. Urinary I excretion was positively associated with total thyroxin and negatively associated with TSH. The anaemia found was not nutritional in origin but due to the effect of infestation with intestinal parasites and malaria.

(Received February 05 1992)

(Accepted October 08 1992)


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