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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


SANCHEZ, HUGO et al. Prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency in older adults. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2010, vol.138, n.1, pp.44-52. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: There is a correlation between aging and the decrease of plasma levels of vitamin B-12. Aim: To determine the prevalence of vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency and its hematological impact among older adults (AM). Material and Methods: Cross-sectional study, in 1028 subjects aged 65 to 87years, living in community and evaluated between 2005 and 2008. Percentile distribution of vitamin B-12, folate, hemoglobin, packed red cell volume and mean cell volume by gender and age were analyzed. Deficiency was defined as vitamin B-12 levels < 148 pmol/L, marginal deficiency as vitamin B-12 levels < 221 pmol/L, anemia was defined as a hemoglobin < 13 and 12 g/dL among men and women, respectively. Results: The prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency was 12% and the figure for marginal deficiency was 25.4%. Males were more affected than females (p < 0.001). The frequency of anemia was 8.6%o, and was higher among women (p = 0.004). Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of full blown and marginal deficit of vitamin B-12 among the elderly. This deficiency should be considered for correction through public nutrition policies.

Keywords : Aged; Anemia, macrocytic; Vitamin B12.

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