Current Pediatric Research

- Current Pediatric Research (2010) Volume 14, Issue 1

Serum vitamin A levels in children with protein energy malnutrition

Protein energy malnutrition (PEM) is central to paediatric mortality in most developing and underdeveloped countries. Deficiency of essential macro molecules such as proteins and weight loss has also been demonstrated in cases of PEM. This study is therefore designed to investigate the effect of malnutrition on serum vitamin A, which is essential for the visual cycle. The serum vitamin A level, serum albumin and body mass index of a total of 197 children was estimated. The test subjects included 99 malnourished children (with protein energy malnutrition) aged between 1-5 years and 98 apparently healthy age-matched children control. The mean ± SD of vitamin A, body mass index (BMI) and albumin of malnourished children (26.7 ± 19.7iu/L, 14.4 ± 3.7kg/m2 and 2.4 ± 0.5 g/dl) were significantly decreased (P<0.05) when compared with the control (128.2 ± 56.9iu/L, 22.7 ± 2.0 kg/m2 and 4.1 ± 0.5g/dl) respectively. The mean levels of vitamin A, BMI and serum albumin of the marasmic children and those suffering from kwashiorkor were both equally significantly decreased (P<0.05) when compared to the controls. When comparison was done between malnourished children suffering from kwashiorkor and the marasmic children, significant decrease (P<0.05) was observed in serum albumin (P<0.05) of children suffering from kwashiorkor but not in serum vitamin A level and BMI. The study shows that vitamin A level is significantly lowered in malnourished children irrespective of the class of protein energy malnutrition and its supplementation is highly recommended for this category of children.

Author(s): Ikekpeazu Ebele J Neboh Emeka E Maduka Ignatius C. Ezedigbo Azubike N Odetunde Tola

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