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Prevalence of anemia among 1st year MBBS students

Kanchana R, Pushpa K.

Background: Nutritional anemia is the most common type of anemia in the world. Iron deficiency anemia is very common in India. Medical students may to suffer from anemia due to irregular eating habits due to the hectic study schedule. They also come from the different socioeconomic background.

Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study was (1) to find out the presence or absence of anemia among male and female students of 1st year MBBS; (2) to determine the degree of anemia among male and female students; and (3) to study the presence of anemia among students of different nutritional status.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 150 1st year medical students aged between 18 and 25 years from October 1 to November 30 2013. Ethical approval was obtained from the ethical committee of the institution. The data were collected using case record form including general information, sign and symptoms of anemia, dietary habits, body mass index, general, and systemic examination. Hemoglobin was estimated by Sahliís method. ESR was estimated by Westergrenís method. Red blood cell (RBC) count and blood indices, namely mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and MCH concentration were also determined. All investigations were carried out at central lab Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chennai.

Results: Hemoglobin was significantly decreased in males compared to females thus showing a greater prevalence of anemia among males compared to females. Furthermore, the presence of anemia was more among overweight students compared to those underweight. There may be a correlation between hemoglobin, ESR, RBC count, and blood indices indicating the presence or absence of anemia.

Conclusion: There is a need for increased awareness among students on adopting healthy eating habits. Deworming also has to be carried out to prevent the occurrence of iron deficiency anemia. Treatment of anemia could significantly improve memory and academic performance of students.

Key words: Anemia; Hemoglobin; Medical Students; Prevalence

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