Background: Anaemia, especially iron deficiency anemia, is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in African women and children. Aim: To assess the intake of nutrients related to iron and anaemia status among mothers in smallholder agrarian communities in Northern Ghana where anaemia is known to be endemic. Setting: Tolon Kumbumgu district and Tamale Metropolis in Ghana. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 161 mothers with children 6–59 months. Questionnaires on socio-demographics, household food security and production and food frequencies, and three 24-hour recalls were administered during structured interviews, and BMI was assessed. Dietary intakes were analysed with the Ghana Nutrient Database® (version 6.02). Nutrient intake was evaluated using the estimated average requirements and iron intakes using the probability method. Results: Most mothers (91.9%) had low literacy and were subsistence farmers. The staple diet was homemade unrefined, unfortified maize meal, homemade unfortified oil (shea butter), and seasonal green leafy vegetables (mostly amaranth), butternut, tomatoes, onions and legumes. Inadequate intakes of vitamin A (in 9.9%), folate (in 46.6%) and vitamin B12 (in 98.8%) were observed, in combination with high fibre (47.8 ± 19.0 g/day) intakes and high tea consumption. If 10% iron bio-availability was assumed, 33.1% were estimated to have inadequate iron intake; if 5% iron bio-availability was assumed, 80.8% were estimated to have inadequate iron intakes. Conclusion: In these low socio-economic agrarian communities, mothers of infants are living on home produce and rarely consumed foods (fortified salt, cooking oil and wheat flour) from the national food fortification programmes intended to address anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies.

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Department, Program, or Center

Nutrition Management (CHST)


RIT – Main Campus