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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-19

Nutritional anemia in a rural community in Tamil Nadu

1 Department of Clinical Research, SRM Institute of Gastroenterology, Hepatobiliary Sciences and Transplantation, SIMS Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, SRM University, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute, Kelambakkam, Tamil Nadu, India
4 Department of Medical Research, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, SRM University, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
John P Mechenro
Institute of Gastroenterology, SRM Institutes for Medical Science, Vadapalani, Chennai - 600 026, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ghep.ghep_37_21

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Background: The prevalence of anemia in India is moderately high, leading to a thrust toward iron fortification of commonly used dietary cereals. We undertook a study to determine the prevalence of anemia in a rural population in Tamil Nadu and to evaluate its association with social, cultural, and dietary practices. Methods: Four hundred and twenty-three adults living in 39 villages comprising the Kattankulathur block of Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu were recruited for this study. Data regarding social, cultural, and dietary practices were recorded and hemoglobin estimated using capillary blood samples. Anemia was classified according to the criteria specified by the World Health Organization. Results: Anemia was found in 91 of 244 (37.3%) female respondents and in 17 of 179 (9.5%) male respondents. In univariate analysis, anemia exhibited associations with marital status, level of education, occupation, and socioeconomic status. The prevalence of anemia was higher in diabetics, and in those who had no awareness of anemia. Anemia was less prevalent in those who frequently consumed milk, fish, beef, or dates. In multivariate analysis, when gender was eliminated, consumption of dates, socioeconomic class, frequent milk consumption, and alcohol consumption were independently associated with anemia. Conclusions: Socioeconomic class and dietary practices were the strongest determinants of anemia in a rural South Indian community and should inform interventions in the community.

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