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A cross-sectional study of anemia among women of reproductive age group (15-49 years) in a rural population of Tamil Nadu

Chellavel Ganapathi K; Sathish Kumar K.

Background: Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, affecting particularly the women of reproductive age group in tropical and subtropical zones. In India, 20-40% of maternal deaths are due to anemia, and more than 50% of women do not have adequate iron stores for pregnancy.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of anemia among women in the reproductive age (15-49) in a rural population and to find out the association with selected variables.

Materials and Methods: This was a population-based cross-sectional study conducted in a rural population served by primary health center, Ulundai in Kadambathur block of Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu among women in reproductive age group of 15-49 years from February 2007 to May 2007. Sample size was calculated to be 381 and participants were selected by simple random sampling. Data were collected using a pre-tested interview schedule.

Results: Out of 400 women, 390 women were only willing to give blood sample giving a response rate of 97.5%. The overall prevalence of anemia among reproductive age group women 15-49 years was found to be 53.3%. Prevalence of anemia decreased with increase in age and was found to be statistically significant. Maternal occupation and menstrual and obstetric factors such as age at menarche, amount of menstrual bleeding, length of menstrual cycle, pelvic inflammatory disease, number of live births, contraception use, pregnancy, and iron and folic acid (IFA) use were found to have statistically significant association with anemia. Women who were underweight, taking vegetarian diet, using open field for defecation, and passed worms in stools were found to have statistically significant association with anemia. Similarly, age at menarche 13-14 years, normal menstrual bleeding, taking mixed diet, regular wearing of footwear, taking deworming tablets recently (

Key words: Anemia;Prevalence;Reproductive Age;Women;Tamil Nadu

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