Guatemala has a 47.7% national prevalence of anemia in children <5y. The study objective was to describe the prevalence of anemia and associated factors in a sample of infants with LAZ<-1SD from rural Guatemala. 396 infants aged 6-24m were recruited.
Anthropometric measurements were collected and converted to WAZ, LAZ and WLZ, based on WHO standards. Blood samples were collected and hemoglobin was analyzed. Cross-sectional analyses were examined for associations between anemia and child anthropometric and developmental variables and maternal socioeconomic, psychosocial, and demographic factors using generalized-estimating-equation adjusting for community cluster, age, and gender.
The prevalence of anemia (hemoglobin<11.0g/dl) was 54.0%, (34.8%-mild, 18.2%-moderate). Prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 21.5%, 3.2% and 6.0%, respectively. Mean hemoglobin was 10.86g/dL±1.38. The odds of having anemia were 57% lower for infants with mothers with education above primary school [OR=0.04;95%CI(1.03-4.77)]; 17% lower for every additional prenatal visit (range 0-16) [OR=0.83;95%CI(0.73-0.94)], and 17% lower for infants with higher household size (range 1-18) [OR=0.83;95%CI(0.72-0.96)]. No significant relations were found between anemia and child, maternal factors, or control variables (age, sex and cluster.
The prevalence of anemia in infants from rural Guatemala is high. Infants from mothers who completed primary school, had prenatal visits, and lived in larger households had lower anemia rates. Our findings highlight the need for increased attention for maternal pregnancy care and education. Understanding relations between infant anemia, maternal education, SES, and other caretaker factors can help shape future prevention strategies, highlighting the need for both nutrition-specific and sensitive anemia prevention interventions.