To evaluate the impact of the national crusade against hunger (CNCH) over anemia prevalence in children under 5 years, at two years of its implementation in Mexico.
The study population was 2300 children from municipalities with the highest percentage of extreme poverty and extreme food poverty across the country. Four groups were included according to their stage of joining the CNCH: Intervention and Comparison, 2014, and Intervention and comparison, 2015. Anemia prevalence was calculated per group and year with 95% CI. Differences within differences estimator was calculated in combination with generalized linear models.
The prevalence of anemia in 2014-2015 were 32.2% and 28.3% in the intervention group and 37.5% and 29.2% in the comparison group, respectively. The probability of suffering anemia in children under 5 years old, is less if the child belongs to intervention group (p = 0.084) and 2015 period (p = 0.025). Being a beneficiary of a food aid social program is a protective factor for the development of anemia. The likelihood of anemia decreases compared to children who do not receive any of these programs (p = 0.021). To live in a home with severe food insecurity increases the likelihood of developing anemia (p = 0.007) compared to those without it, and living in a home with better welfare conditions decreases the likelihood of having anemia (p <0.05).
Conclusions: To be beneficiary of the CNCH and food aid social programs, protects children from having anemia. Improving the living welfare conditions of children is also a condition that favors its prevention.