203231 Assessing prevalence of anemia among adolescent females in Jamkhed, India

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:50 AM

Rachel Winer, MS II , School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Shobha Arole, MBBS, DCBHD , Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed, Dist. Ahmednagar, India
Premkumar Ramaswamy, PhD , Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed, Dist. Ahmednagar, India
Mark Woodward, MD , Department of Biostatistics, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
Natasha Anandaraja, MD , Global Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
BACKGROUND: Anemia in adolescent females limits growth, delays menarche, decreases physical and mental functions, and increases maternal and child mortality. The Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving rural health in Jamkhed, Maharashtra, India. The CRHP suspected high prevalence of anemia among adolescent females in local villages, but lacked data to design interventions. In partnership with the CRHP, this study assesses prevalence and determinants of anemia in adolescent females to guide future CRHP interventions.

METHODS: Using a cross-sectional study design, a survey was administered to all unmarried, menstruating adolescent females in four randomly selected rural villages served by the CRHP. The survey assessed sociodemographic and medical characteristics, diet and nutritional practices, menstrual history, and exposure to intestinal parasites. Blood samples were analyzed to determine hemoglobin levels and characterize red blood cell (RBC) size and color. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin below 12.0 g/dL. Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) was identified by hypochromic, microcytic RBCs on microscopy.

RESULTS: Data from 107 subjects revealed anemia prevalence of 69.16% and IDA prevalence of 2.80%. A two-tailed t-test showed a significant difference in mean hemoglobin (Hb) between girls who ate three or more meals per day (Hb = 11.14 g/dL) and girls who ate under three meals per day (Hb = 9.95 g/dL) (p-value 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS: CRHP interventions should focus on the number of meals eaten per day. These community-based interventions could include health and nutrition education and initiation of community dialogue regarding social constraints on female food intake.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how the social status of women in India impacts health of adolescent females. 2. Discuss how intervening during adolescence prevents perpetuation of anemia as a public health problem. 3. Describe three community-based interventions to decrease the burden of chronic anemia in rural Indian villages.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: After participating in a 4 week Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) training program, I worked on-site in Jamkhed, India conducting this project. To gain expertise and ensure scientific validity, I worked with mentors at Mount Sinai and the CRHP to design and carry out this research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.