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Health survey shows anaemia a concern across age groups in children, women

by Pragati Singh

THE MOST RECENT National Family Health Survey (NFHS) from the Union Health Ministry has shown a concerning trend: a rise in anaemia across age groups, notably among children and women.

The statistics in NFHS 2019-21, the fifth in the series, reveal that the biggest jump in anaemia was observed among children aged 6-59 months (see box) — 67.1 percent (NFHS-5) up from 58.6 percent in the previous year (NFHS-4, 2015-16). According to the report, the figure was greater in rural India (68.3 percent) than in urban India (64.2 per cent).

This is followed by anaemia in females aged 15-19 years — 59.1 per cent (NFHS-5) from 54.1 per cent (NFHS-4). In this group, too, the number was higher in rural areas (58.7 per cent) compared to urban India (54.1 per cent).

Among pregnant women aged 15-49 years, 52.2 per cent were found to be anaemic compared to 50.4 per cent in the previous survey. But in this group, there is a stark difference between urban areas (45.7 per cent) and rural India (54.3 per cent).

The prevalence of anaemia among men, the data show, was significantly lower compared to other groups: 25 per cent in the age group of 15-49 and 31.1 per cent in the age group of 15-16.

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