To investigate the indirect association between Food Assistance Programs (FAP) and anemia through Food and Socio-Economic Conditions (FSEC) in beneficiary children.
A Structural Equation Model (SEQ) was constructed to establish relationships of FAP and FSEC with anemia. This analysis is based on a cross-sectional comparative study with based on a sample of 1214 households with children (< 5y old), beneficiaries of two FAP: Prospera (previously named Oportunidades) and Rescue to Malnutrition with amaranth (RMA) in San Luis Potosi, MÃ©xico. We also included a comparison group.
SEQ Model-adjusted showed that anemia prevalence was significantly higher in Prospera children (40.8%, CI: 36.1, 45.7) and RMA showed significantly lower prevalence of anemia (23.6% CI: 18.8, 28.5), both versus the comparison group (28.5, CI: 23.7, 33.4). A decomposition effects analysis of the model revealed the existence of a significant indirect association of FAPs on the prevalence of anemia via the Food and Socio-Economic Condition (FSEC), in children under five years of age. The Prospera assistance program showed a positive significant indirect association with prevalence of anemia (Coefficient= 0.069, P<0.001) and the RMA program showed a negative significant indirect association on prevalence of anemia (Coefficient= -0.038, P=0.001). As expected, there was a significant direct association of FAP on FSEC.
FAP could indirectly modify anemia prevalence in young children with a direct improvement on FSEC. The unexpected sign of the association of RMA on FSEC and anemia prevalence reflects differences in programs focalization.