Magnitude and Factors Affecting Anemia in West Bengal (India): A Multi Method Approach

Sayeed Unisa, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

In NFHS (2000), anemia level was tested for ever-married women. It is found that in the state of West Bengal, 63 percent of women have some degree of anemia. A follow-up study was carried out in the same villages selected in the NFHS to examine the factors affecting anemia and to suggest a method that is economical in estimating level of anemia. Blood is tested by two methods, Helliges and Cyna-Math (Gold Standard), by trained pathologists. Medical doctors trained investigators in a symptomatic approach for identifying anemic women by looking at eye color, palm color, nail color, and color of tongue. Prevalence of anemia by all symptoms is lower than by the Cyna-Math method level. Also, the Helliges method over-estimates the level of anemia when compared to Cyna-Math. Food habits, namely consumption of green leafy vegetables, protein and lemon (vitamin C) are negatively associated, whereas menstrual problems are positively associated with level of anemia.

Presented in Session 106: Using Biomarkers to Validate Alternative Measures of Health in Developing Countries