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October 2021

Indian Pediatr. 1998 Dec; 35(12): 1181-6.

Prevalence of anemia among urban school children of Punjab.

Verma M, Chhatwal J, Kaur G.

Department of Pediatrics, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of anemia among urban school children of Punjab. DESIGN: Cross sectional study. SETTING: Urban schools of Ludhiana, Punjab. SUBJECTS: Two thousand school children of 5-15 years age. METHODS: Relevant history was taken and a complete physical examination done in all the children. Hemoglobin was estimated using cynmethemoglobin method and peripheral blood smears were also examined. Anemia was diagnosed when hemoglobin was less than 11 g/dl for children of 5-6 years age and 12 g/dl for more than 6 years age. RESULTS: Overall prevalence of anemia was 51.5%. Girls had a significantly higher prevalence of anemia except at 5 years and 10-12 years age. More menarcheal girls were anemic as compared to non-menarcheal ones. The prevalence of anemia was high (38%) even in higher socioeconomic groups. Nearly half (47.6%) of well nourished children were anemic. The mean Hb also was lower than expected normal values in both nutritional groups. Compared to non-vegetarians (38%), more vegetarians (65.9%) were anemic. The commonest blood picture seen was microcytic hypochromic (55.4%). CONCLUSIONS: The present study revealed a high prevalence of anemia among healthy urban school children of higher socio-economic classes. Vegetarians and girls, especially after menarche were more at risk to develop anemia.

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