Objective To determine the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency, infection and adequacy of vitamin A intakes among Zambian children, and the contribution of dietary vitamin A and infection to vitamin A status.
Design A cross-sectional survey of vitamin A intakes by the 24 h recall method, vitamin A status by plasma retinol and the modified relative dose-response test, and infection by acute-phase proteins.
Setting Rural communities in Central and Eastern Provinces of Zambia.
Subjects Children 2–5 years of age.
Results The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency was 56 % by plasma retinol, 48 % with infection-adjusted plasma retinol and 22 % by the modified relative dose-response test. The majority of children (61 %) had a current infection. Vitamin A intakes were relatively high (331 to 585 μg retinol activity equivalents/d in the harvest/early post-harvest and late post-harvest seasons, respectively) and the prevalence of inadequate intakes was
Conclusions Infection and vitamin A intakes were significant determinants of plasma retinol. We cannot conclude which indicator more accurately represents the true vitamin A status of the population. Reasons for the persistent high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in the presence of adequate vitamin A intakes are unclear, but the high rates of infection may play a role.
Hotz, C.; Chileshe, J.; Siamusantu, W.; Palaniappan, U.; Kafwembe, E. Vitamin A intake and infection are associated with plasma retinol among pre-school children in rural Zambia. Public Health Nutrition (2012) 15 (09) 1688-1696. [DOI: 10.1017/S1368980012000924]