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Hemoglobin concentration in relation to body mass index among undergraduate medical students – A cross-sectional institutional study

Farhana Ahad, Iram Jaan, Mumtaz Gowhar.

Background: The result of the association between anemia and body mass index (BMI), a measure of the nutritional status of adults, has been inconsistent. There is a paucity of data correlating hemoglobin with BMI in our context. Abnormal BMI is associated with altered hemoglobin concentrations.

Aim and Objective: The present study was done to find out the correlation of hemoglobin level with abnormal BMI in undergraduate medical students.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional institution-based study was performed in 167 undergraduate medical students. BMI was calculated by Quetlet’s index and hemoglobin concentration was estimated by Sahli’s method. Correlation between hemoglobin concentration and BMI was assessed by Pearson’s correlation coefficient.

Results: The mean hemoglobin levels in females were statistically lower than males (10.7128 + 1.9165 vs. 13.7321 + 1.7072, P < 0.0001). On correlating BMI with hemoglobin, Pearson’s coefficient was −0.05 with P = 0.481, implying that there was no perfect correlation. On comparing the three groups of BMI, it was seen that there was a statistically significant difference in the mean hemoglobin levels of the three groups (11.2167 + 2.075 vs. 12.6642 + 2.302 vs. 11.7844 + 2.487, P = 0.028). It was seen that the hemoglobin levels in underweight and overweight group were lower as compared to normal BMI group.

Conclusion: Abnormal BMI, whether underweight or overweight/obese, increases the risk of anemia. There is a negative correlation of hemoglobin concentration with BMI among individuals with abnormal BMI.

Key words: Anemia; Body Mass Index; Medical Students

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