Determinants of iron status and anemia, and the associations between iron status and divalent metals among children aged 3 to 19 years old from four First Nations communities in Quebec

Authors: Tahir, Emad
Advisor: Ayotte, Pierre; Lemire, Mélanie
Abstract: Context: In First Nations communities, anemia and iron deficiency (ID) are frequent pediatric conditions with diverse adverse health outcomes. Iron is a divalent metal that shares absorptive pathways with cadmium (Cd), cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) in the gastrointestinal tract; ID upregulates their uptake and likely their toxicity in humans. The present study examines the prevalence of anemia, ID and their determinants as well as study associations between ID status and other divalent metals among First Nations youth. METHODS: The 2015, First Nation Youth Environment and Health (JES!-YEH!) pilot study was conducted among children and teenagers (3 to 19 y, n = 198) from four First Nations communities in Quebec. Blood, hair, urine samples and anthropometric measurements were collected. Hemoglobin, serum ferritin (SF), blood Cd, Pb, Mn, and Co, plasma Zn and hs-CRP, hair Mn and urinary cotinine levels were measured. Determinants (including traditional and market food consumption) were assessed using an interview-administered questionnaire, based on which nutritional intakes were calculated. Descriptive analyses were performed, and structural equation models were used to test associations. RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia and ID was elevated (17.7% and 20.8% respectively) in JES!-YEH! study participants. Traditional meats, fruit and fruit juice consumption (natural and powdered) - via their positive association with vitamin C intake - were the food variables positively associated with SF. Male sex was also associated with higher SF. The inflammatory status was associated with lower hemoglobin, while higher SF was in turn associated with higher hemoglobin. As for SF, fruit and juice consumption were positively associated with hemoglobin, via vitamin C intake and SF, and this although, most participants presented sufficient iron and vitamin C intakes. Blood Mn was significantly higher than in the Canadian Health Measures Survey of the same age groups, and SF was inversely associated with blood Co and Mn. Again, fruits and juice consumption were inversely associated with blood Mn via vitamin C intake and SF. No significant association between SF and other divalent metals was found. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that interventions fighting inflammation and fostering healthier food environments as well as higher consumption of traditional meats and foods naturally rich in vitamin C, which is known to enhance iron absorption, could decrease anemia and ID and ultimately, restore blood Mn and Co homeostasis. Key words: Childhood anemia; iron deficiency; First Nations; vitamin C; inflammation; manganese; cobalt.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 3 February 2021
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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