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To determine the association between a range of inherited blood disorders and indicators of poor nutrition, we analyzed data from a population-based, cross-sectional survey of 882 children 6-35 months of age in western Kenya. Of children with valid measurements, 71.7% were anemic (hemoglobin < 11 g/dL), 19.1% had ferritin levels < 12 μg/L, and 30.9% had retinol binding protein (RBP) levels < 0.7 μmol/L. Unadjusted analyses showed that compared with normal children, homozygous α(+)-thalassemia individuals had a higher prevalence of anemia (82.3% versus 66.8%, P = 0.001), but a lower prevalence of low RBP (20.5% versus 31.4%, P = 0.024). In multivariable analysis, homozygous α(+)-thalassemia remained associated with anemia (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.8, P = 0.004) but not with low RBP (aOR = 0.6, P = 0.065). Among young Kenyan children, α(+)-thalassemia is associated with anemia, whereas G6PD deficiency, haptoglobin 2-2, and HbS are not; none of these blood disorders are associated with iron deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, or poor growth.

Original publication





The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Publication Date





955 - 962


Humans, alpha-Thalassemia, Anemia, Iron-Deficiency, Malnutrition, Vitamin A Deficiency, Hemoglobins, Nutrition Assessment, Multivariate Analysis, Logistic Models, Cross-Sectional Studies, Nutritional Status, Child, Preschool, Infant, Kenya, Female, Male