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Prevalence and correlates of anemia among mothers of children aged 0–23 months in three districts of Karnataka, India

Deepthi Narayan Shanbhag, Ramakrishna Goud, Naveen Ramesh, Sulekha Thimmaih, Maya Mascarenhas, Arvind Risbud, Prem K Mony, Arvind Kasthuri.


Background: Anemia is one of the major leading nutritional deficiencies in India. While vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and preschool and adolescent children have been studied extensively, the problem in lactating women is less well documented.

Objective: To study the prevalence and correlates of anemia among mothers of children aged 0–23 months in three backward districts of Karnataka state in southern India.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken using a cluster sampling technique from three geographically dispersed backward districts of Karnataka. We studied 647 mothers of children aged 0–23 months from three taluks in these districts, with hemoglobin estimation using HemoCue method.

Result: In our study population with medium parity, the prevalence of anemia was 65.8% (426/647) [mild/moderate anemia (Hb = 7–11.9 g%) = 63.5%; severe anemia (Hb < 7 g%) = 2.3%]. On multivariate analysis, hemoglobin values were significantly associated with the educational status of the woman and consumption of iron tablets during pregnancy.

Conclusion: Increasing efficiency of anemia control program during pregnancy through improved coverage and adherence along with continued care after delivery well after the traditional 3-month postpartum period will be needed to tackle the overall problem of anemia in women of reproductive age. There should also be a special focus on those from socially disadvantaged groups.

Key words: India, lactating women, anemia, socioeconomic status, supplementation, adherence

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