Temporal trend of anemia among reproductive-aged women in India

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2015 Mar;27(2):NP1193-207. doi: 10.1177/1010539512442567. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


Background: Anemia is one of the major leading nutritional deficiencies in India, and the most vulnerable groups are preschool and adolescent children and pregnant and lactating women.

Aim: The main objective of the study is to determine the temporal trend of anemia among reproductive-aged women of age 15-49 years.

Methodology: The study uses data from second and third rounds of the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS-2, 1998-1999, and NFHS-3, 2005-2006), conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences. The dependent variable was the status of anemia of women. The determining variables were type of residence, age group, religion and castes, educational status, marital status, and household standard of living index.

Results: Anemia was most prevalent in the east zone for both the periods. The changes at the all India level were not much, but the north-east zone improved very well, whereas the south zone deteriorated drastically. The occurrence of severely anemic women in India varied between 1% and 2%. The highest prevalence rates were observed among women who were 15 to 24 years of age, illiterate, from non-Christian scheduled tribes (STs), unmarried, and whose standard of living was low. Rates of anemia have increased over time except in the case of Buddhists, Parsees, Jains, and the STs.

Conclusion: From the viewpoint of our study, illiteracy and low standard of living may be the main causes of anemia among women in India. It is also necessary to take appropriate steps to curb anemia in women in their early adulthood.

Keywords: India; anemia; reproductive-aged women; sociodemographic variables; temporal trend.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Lactation
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Social Class
  • Young Adult