Dietary patterns, nutritional knowledge, prevalence and risk factors for anemia among school children in Morocco

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0041 Prevalence and risk factors for micronutrient status(deficiency, overload) Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


To investigate the association between dietary patterns, nutritional knowledge and anemia among school children in Morocco.


253 children were chosen randomly from 5 public schools. Anthropometric measurements were taken using standardized methods, whereas haemoglobin was assessed using a hemocue instrument. Dietary patterns and nutritional knowledge were evaluated using a structured questionnaire, dietary intake was evaluated using 24h recall.


The median age 9.58 (8.83–10.33) years; mean z-score BMI (-0.15±1.31) kg/m2.The proportion of anemic children (haemoglobin<11.5g/dL) was 28.8%; 11.8% of these had mild and 17.1% had moderate anemia. Dietary patterns of children showed that 51.5% reported skipping breakfast, 71.2% never consumed milk and 50.0% eating fast foods at least three times per week.The unadjusted odds ratio (OR) showed that children who never consumed milk had a three-fold increased odds of being anemic [OR=3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) =1.6-7.8; P=0.001], whereas those who consumed fast foods at least three times per week had an 0.2 increased risk [OR=0.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) =0.1-0.5; P=0.001]. Anemia among children was also found to be associated with limited nutrition knowledge. The proportion of children with less nutrition knowledge was 73.2%. These children were four times more likely to be anemic [OR=4.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) =1.9-11.2; P=0.001].


Poor dietary habits and nutritional knowledge were associated with anemia. Appropriate nutrition interventions are needed to promote healthy dietary habits among school children.keywords: Anemia, Hb, dietary patterns, nutrition knowledge, school children.

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