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Open AccessArticle

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

Epidemic Intelligence Service, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770, Buford Hwy, Chamblee, GA 30341, USA
Child Health Division, Ministry of Health and Population, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
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;
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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