Paediatrics and Child Health
Objective: To determine the prevalence and possible factors associated with anaemia, and vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies in women of reproductive age (WRA) in Pakistan.
Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted on data collected through the large-scale National Nutrition Survey in Pakistan in 2011. Anaemia was defined as haemoglobin levels <12 g/dL, vitamin B12 deficiency as serum vitamin B12 levels of <203 pg/mL (150 pmol/L) and folate deficiency as serum folate levels <4 ng/mL (10 nmol/L).
Results: A total of 11751 blood samples were collected and analysed. The prevalence of anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency was 50.4%, 52.4% and 50.8%, respectively. After adjustment, the following factors were positively associated with anaemia: living in Sindh province (RR 1.07; 95%CI 1.04 to 1.09)P<0.00, food insecure with moderate hunger (RR 1.03; 95%CI 1.00 to 1.06)P=0.02, four or more pregnancies (RR 1.03; 95%CI 1.01 to 1.05)P<0.00, being underweight (RR 1.03; 95%CI 1.00 to 1.05)P=0.02, being overweight or obese (RR 0.95; 95%CI 0.93 to 0.97)P<0.00 and weekly intake of leafy green vegetables (RR 0.98; 95%CI 0.95 to 1.00)P=0.04. For vitamin B12 deficiency, a positive association was observed with rural population (RR 0.81; 95%CI 0.66 to 1.00)P=0.04, living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (RR 1.25; 95%CI 1.11 to 1.43)P<0.00 and living in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (RR 1.50; 95%CI 1.08 to 2.08)P=0.01. Folate deficiency was negatively associated with daily and weekly intake of eggs (RR 0.89; 95%CI 0.81 to 0.98)P=0.02 and (RR 0.88; 95%CI 0.78 to 0.99)P=0.03.
Conclusions: In Pakistan, anaemia, and vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies are a severe public health concern among WRA. Our findings suggest that further research is needed on culturally appropriate short-term and long-term interventions within communities and health facilities to decrease anaemia, and vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies among Pakistani women.
Khan, G. N.,
Bhutta, Z. A.
(2017). Prevalence and possible factors associated with anaemia, and vitamin B 12 and folate deficiencies in women of reproductive age in Pakistan: Analysis of national-level secondary survey data. BMJ Open, 7(12), e018007..
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_paediatr/649