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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
Year: 2004  |  Volume: 7  |  Issue: 7  |  Page No.: 1282 - 1286

Serum Retinol Level and Nutritional Status of Rural Adolescent Children with or without Eye Changes

A.F.M. Tariqul Islam, Pricila Khan Moly, Khaleda Islam and H.K.M. Yusuf    

Abstract: A study was conducted to find association between serum retinol level, blood haemoglobin level and Body Mass Index (BMI) of rural adolescent children (aged 10-17 years) having or not having eye changes. The study was carried out through a cross sectional survey on 906 adolescents from 803 households, sampled consecutively from four purposively selected villages of Rupganj Upazila (sub-district) under Narayanganj district, Bangladesh. An appropriate questionnaire was developed to obtain information on age, sex, height, weight, housing condition, sanitation and educational qualification of both the adolescents and their parents. Among 906 adolescents (47% male and 53% female), 2.1% (19) had eye changes that are known to occur due to Vitamin A deficiency (e.g., retinal, conjunctival and corneal changes). Eleven (57%) of them were male and 8 (42%) were female. Of the 19 adolescents who had eye changes, 9 (42%) had serum retinol level below the cut-off value of 20 μg dL-1, 90% had BMI lower than 18.5 kg m-2 (i.e. suffering from chronic energy deficiency) and 100% were anaemic (Hb level <115 g L-1). These figures were 25, 66 and 72%, respectively, in adolescents who had no eye changes. These data show strong association of malnutrition and anaemia with eye changes in adolescents. The national vitamin A supplementation programme should be extended from under-6 year old children to the adolescent population, who are yet another vulnerable group.

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