Prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls in the urban slums of Vellore, south India

Authors : Choudhary A, Moses PD, Mony P, Mathai M.

Publication Year : 2006

Abstract :

A community-based, cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of anaemia among unmarried, adolescent south Indian girls in an urban slum setting. A total of 100 apparently healthy girls between the ages of 11 and 18 years were recruited. Their socioeconomic, dietary and anthropometric information was collected, and blood haemoglobin (Hb) was estimated. The prevalence of anaemia (Hb < 12 g%) was 29%. Most had mild anaemia; severe anaemia was not seen. Two-thirds of those with anaemia had low serum ferritin (<12 microg/L). Significant associations were observed between anaemia and low socioeconomic status, religion and reporting infrequent/non-consumption of meat (heme iron). Only meat consumption was related to haemoglobin by multiple regression analysis. Anaemia is a common problem among adolescent girls in this setting, though severe anaemia is rare. There is a need to improve their haemoglobin status through dietary modification along with preventive supplementation and nutrition education.