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Open AccessArticle

High Prevalence of Vitamin B12 Deficiency and No Folate Deficiency in Young Children in Nepal

1
Epidemic Intelligence Service, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
2
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770, Buford Hwy, Chamblee, GA 30341, USA
3
Child Health Division, Ministry of Health and Population, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
4
Nutrition Section, UNICEF, UN House, Pulchowk, Lalitpur, P.O. Box 1187, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9010072
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
Many children in low- and middle-income countries may have inadequate intake of vitamin B12 and folate; data confirming these inadequacies are limited. We used biochemical, demographic, behavioral and anthropometric data to describe the folate and vitamin B12 concentrations among six- to 23-month-old Nepalese children. Vitamin B12 (serum B12 < 150 pmol/L) and folate deficiencies (red blood cell (RBC) folate < 226.5 nmol/L) were assessed. We used logistic regression to identify predictors of vitamin B12 deficiency. The vitamin B12 geometric mean was 186 pmol/L; 30.2% of children were deficient. The mean RBC folate concentration was 13,612 nmol/L; there was no deficiency. Factors associated with vitamin B12 deficiency included: (a) age six to 11 months (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.51; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18, 1.92) or 12–17 months (aOR 1.38; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.72) compared to 18–23 months; (b) being stunted (aOR 1.24; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.50) compared to not being stunted; (c) and not eating animal-source foods (aOR 1.85; 95% CI: 1.42, 2.41) compared to eating animal-source foods the previous day. There was a high prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency, but no folate deficiency. Improving early feeding practices, including the consumption of rich sources of vitamin B12, such as animal-source foods and fortified foods, may help decrease deficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: serum B12; red blood cell folate; animal source foods serum B12; red blood cell folate; animal source foods
MDPI and ACS Style

Ng’eno, B.N.; Perrine, C.G.; Whitehead, R.D.; Subedi, G.R.; Mebrahtu, S.; Dahal, P.; Jefferds, M.E.D. High Prevalence of Vitamin B12 Deficiency and No Folate Deficiency in Young Children in Nepal. Nutrients 2017, 9, 72.

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