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Tags Current Affairs

Why Indian children are anaemic?

Date: 24 November 2019 Tags: Reports & Indices

Issue

A paper published in Scientific Reports points out that about 58.5% of children below five years of age in India are anaemic.

 

Background

Last month, an ad campaign urged Indian women to invest in iron-rich food and focus on whether they were anaemic. Similarly, a Lancet Global Health report noted that 23% of Indian men suffered from anaemia.

 

Details

  • The research team analysed over one lakh children using the National Fertility and Health Survey (2015-16) data.

  • They write that socio-demographic factors including wealth of the family, maternal education, maternal age, type of residence are the main reasons behind the incidence of childhood anaemia.

  • Maternal education plays a very important role in reducing the incidence of childhood anaemia in any society and indeed in India.

  • It increases the chances of mothers appreciating the issues involved and taking the correct and appropriate steps towards preventing it.

  • The study also revealed an inverse relationship between the mother's education and incidence of childhood anaemia in India.

  • The report notes that even the richest households had anaemic children. While 52.9% of children in the rich households were marked anaemic, the number was 63.2% in the poorest households. Vitamin A and iron intake was also lower than the recommended level.

  • The study also showed that children of younger mothers are more anaemic. It also reveals the power dimension in the household allocation and use of resources.

Measures

  • In addition to maternal influence on childhood anaemia, paternal and overall household influences must be considered for a more comprehensive policy framework for intervention at the household level.

  • The researchers have recommended that  work be carried out to bridge the gap between policy and practice. They also call for a broader health strategy, to effectively address this issue.

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