To assess the prevalence of anemia and iron and vitamin A deficiency in children 6-59 months of age and non-pregnant women 15-49 years.
A nationally representative nutrition survey was conducted in 2013 in Azerbaijan. Concentrations of hemoglobin, plasma ferritin, and retinol binding protein were measured in 1,111 children and 2,706 women. Ferritin and retinol binding protein values were adjusted for acute and chronic inflammation. Deficiency prevalence was calculated at national and sub-national levels using stratum and cluster-specific sampling weights.
Anemia was observed in 24.2% (95% CI: 20.9, 27.8) and 38.2% (95% CI: 35.7, 40.8) of children and women, respectively, denoting a moderate public health problem. Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia were observed in 15.0% (95% CI: 12.5, 17.9) and 6.5% (95% CI: 5.1, 8.4) of children, respectively. Vitamin A deficiency was observed in 8.0% (95% CI: 5.7, 11.1) of children, with significantly higher deficiency prevalence observed in urban areas (12% urban, 5% rural; p<0.01). In women, 34.1% (95% CI: 31.7, 36.7) were iron deficient and 23.8% (95% CI: 21.7, 26.1) had iron deficiency anemia. Prevalences of anemia, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia were significantly higher in women from urban areas. Less than 1% of women had vitamin A deficiency.
Anemia and iron deficiency are common in Azerbaijani children and women, and vitamin A deficiency is common in children. Moreover, iron deficiency may not be the predominant cause of anemia in Azerbaijan. Urban women are more likely to be anemic and/or iron deficient than rural woman, and urban children are more likely to be deficient in vitamin A than rural children.