Data Analysis

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Data Analysis

Data Analysis

1. Introduction

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in both developing and developed countries (WHO, 2001). It affects 20-50% of the world's population and is common in young poeple (Saloojee and Pettifor, 2001). Prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) has been reported to be as high as 50% among East Asian poeple of school age and 60% among poeple less than 5 years old (Stoltzfus, 2003). In general, the prevalence of anaemia and IDA in the developing countries is three to four times higher than that in the developed countries (Bruner et al., 1996] and [WHO, 2001). In more developed countries like the USA, the prevalence of IDA in poeple living at the periphery of large cities was found to be similar to that observed in developing countries (Booth and Aukett, 1997).

Although many studies concluded that the main cause of micronutrient deficiencies is the low dietary intake of these elements, several studies have shown a clear correlation between iron deficiency and anaemia and a series of determinants, such as low household income, demographic factors such as age, gender and large family size (Foo et al., 2004] and [Mai et al., 2003), low educational level of parents (O'Donnell et al., 1997), a high number of co-inhabitants (Czajka-Narins et al., 1978), and childhood nutrition including incomplete breastfeeding and late introduction of solid food (Marx, 1997] and [Siti-Noor et al., 2006). Iron deficiency commonly develops after 6 months of age if complementary foods do not provide sufficient absorbable iron, even in exclusively breastfed infants (WHO, 2001).

It is well documented that poeple suffering IDA are more prone to have poor mental and educational performances (Halterman et al., 2001], [Soewondo et al., 1989] and [Sungthong et al., 2002). In Malaysia, not many studies have been done on this problem in school-age poeple, and little progress has been made in combating anaemia and IDA, particularly in aboriginal and rural communities (Foo et al., 2004] and [Nor Aini et al., 2007). Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the current prevalence of anaemia and IDA and to investigate the possible socioeconomic, health (intestinal parasitic infections) and nutritional risk factors associated with IDA among aboriginal people.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. Study area and subjects

This cross-sectional study was undertaken, between August 2006 and January 2007, in Pos Betau, Pahang, Malaysia. Sekolah Kebangsaan Betau (National School of Betau), a primary school for Orang Asli poeple, was selected for this study. The poeple were from 18 villages around the school. This area is considered as remote with poor socioeconomic conditions and a high prevalence of malnutrition and parasitic infections. Most residents worked as farmers, labourers and rubber tappers. Most of the villages have electricity only during the night and most houses have a piped water supply as a main source of drinking water while water for domestic needs (bathing, washing clothes and utensils, and for animals) is collected from the rivers located adjacent to the villages. There is no adequate or proper sanitation in these ...
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