Anaemia continues to be major health problem among women, children in J&K

Nutritional deficiencies, ignorance of menstrual health main cause, say doctors

Anaemia continues to be a major health problem in Jammu and Kashmir especially in women and children.Doctors blamed nutritional deficiencies, ignorance of menstrual health as the main reasons behind anaemia.Several doctors while talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said majority of women do not take nutrient rich diet.They said anaemia is a condition that is marked by low levels of haemoglobin in the blood. “Iron deficiency is estimated to be responsible for about half of all anaemia globally. Still, anaemia can also be caused by malaria, hookworms, other nutritional deficiencies, chronic infections and genetic conditions,” they added.Dr Sabeena, a gynaecologist told Kashmir News Observer that a lack of nutrition diversity in meals — inclusion of quality sources of proteins, micronutrients in households is one of the main reasons behind anaemia.“In women of reproductive age, heavy periods and pregnancy are the most common causes of iron deficiency anaemia as their body needs extra iron for their baby during pregnancy,” she said.“If iron deficiency anaemia is left untreated, it can make you more susceptible to illness and infection, as a lack of iron affects the body’s natural defence system (the immune system),” she said.Doctors said that anaemia can result in maternal mortality, weakness, diminished physical and mental capacity, increased morbidity from infectious diseases, prenatal mortality, premature delivery, low birth weight, and (in children) impaired cognitive performance, motor development, and scholastic achievement.They said that the reason for rising cases of anemia is lack of awareness, lack of education regarding dietary habits, nutritional deficiencies, ignorance of menstrual health.A pediatrician from GMC Srinagar said anaemia is rising among children and main cause is nutritional deficiency.He said that almost three out of every four children in Jammu and Kashmir are anemic thereby putting their physical and mental development of a generation at risk.Notably as per the statistics published in ‘Women and Men in India 2022’ report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) this year 66 percent women in Jammu & Kashmir have anaemia, including 25 percent with mild anaemia, 38 percent with moderate anaemia, and 3 percent with severe anaemia.As per the report, during NFHS-4, 49 percent non-pregnant women aged between 15-49 were anaemic, which has increased to 67.3 percent during NFHS-5.Over all the anaemic condition of all women aged 15-49 has increased from 48.9 percent in NFHS-4 to 65.9 percent in NFHS-5.As per NFHS-5, about three-fourths (73%) of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic. This includes 25 percent who are mildly anaemic, 44 percent who are moderately anaemic, and 4 percent who have severe anaemia.”The overall prevalence of anemia in children increased from 43 percent in NFHS-4 to 73 percent in NFHS-5. There is a slight difference in the prevalence of anaemia among girls (71%) and boys (71%) in NFHS-5,” it said.Children of mothers who have anaemia are much more likely to be anaemic. Although anaemia levels vary somewhat according to background characteristics, anaemia among children is widespread in every group.As per NFHS-5 three-fourths (74%) of children in Jammu & Kashmir are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling

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