A total of 14740 schoolchildren in seven provinces of Shoa Administrative Region in Central Ethiopia were surveyed for the prevalence of goitre, xerophthalmia and anaemia. Haemoglobin and packed cell volume were assessed in 966 children in one province while an in-depth study was conducted on 344 children in the same province and two others. Goitre, xerophthalmia (Bitot's spots) and clinical anaemia were observed in 34·2, 0·91 and 18·6% respectively of the children. Most biochemical variables were within the normal range while those of haemoglobin (Hb), mean corpuscular Hb concentration (MCHC) and urinary I excretion were lower, and mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular Hb (MCH), and immunoglobulins G and M were higher. Hb was strongly correlated with retinol. ferritin, MCHC, MCH, packed cell volume and erythrocyte count while retinol formed a triad with transthyretin (TTR) and retinol-binding protein (RBP) which were all correlated with one another. Total and free thyroxin and total and free triiodothyronine were positively correlated as were the concentrations of the total and free hormones. Thyrotropin (TSH) was negatively correlated with total and free thyroxin and positively correlated with free triiodothyronine. Thyroxin and triiodothyronine in both free and combined forms were all correlated with thyroxin-binding globulin which in turn was negatively correlated with the triad retinol, RBP and TTR. The triad was also negatively correlated with C-reactive protein. Urinary I excretion was positively associated with total thyroxin and negatively associated with TSH. The anaemia found was not nutritional in origin but due to the effect of infestation with intestinal parasites and malaria.
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