Prevalence and factors associated with anemia among women of reproductive age in seven South and Southeast Asian countries: Evidence from nationally representative surveys

Dev Ram Sunuwar, Devendra Raj Singh, Narendra Kumar Chaudhary, Pranil Man Singh Pradhan, Pushpa Rai, Kalpana Tiwari

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70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Anemia remains a major public health challenge with high prevalence among women in South and Southeast Asian countries. Reductions in anemia rates have been stalled, despite the implementation of different maternal health and nutrition programs. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with anemia among women of reproductive age in seven selected South and Southeast Asian countries. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis utilized data from the most recent demographic and health surveys from seven selected South and Southeast Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Timor-Leste) between 2011 and 2016. This study included 726,164 women of reproductive age. Multiple logistic regression was performed to assess the factors associated with anemia among women for each country separately. Results: The combined prevalence of anemia was 52.5%, ranged from 22.7% in Timor-Leste to 63% in the Maldives. Results from multiple logistic regression suggest that likelihood of anemia is significantly higher among younger women (15-24 years), women with primary or no education, women from the poorest wealth quintile, women without toilet facilities and improved water sources, underweight women, and women with more than one children born in last five years in most of the countries. Conclusions: The prevalence of anemia is high among women of reproductive age in the seven selected South and Southeast Asian countries. The results of this study suggest that various household, environmental and individual factors contribute to the increased likelihood of anemia. Evidence-based, multidisciplinary policies and programs targeting mothers' health and nutrition status, in addition to scaling-up women's education and socioeconomic status, are warranted to combat anemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236449
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

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