Anaemia Frequency and its Socioeconomic and Dietary Determinants among Teenage School Girls of Karachi
Keywords:Anemia, frequency, socioeconomic factors, diet, teenagers, hemoglobin.
Objective: To assess the frequency of anaemia and to determine its socioeconomic and dietary de- terminants among teenage school girls of Karachi.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from January to July, 2015. The study subjects were chosen from four schools, two each from high socioeconomic and poor neighbourhoods of Karachi. Our study was conducted on 497 school girls aged 13 to 18 years, who were enrolled by employing convenient sampling, after informed consent of parents and principal of the school. All study subjects were interviewed using a questionnaire, clinically examined for signs of anaemia and measurements taken for anthropometric and haemoglobin estimation.
Results: The primary study outcome was the anaemia status of the study participants as determined by their haemoglobin level using a cut off of 11 gm/dl. The study results showed that only 167 (36.5%) of the participants were anaemic and majority of them was negative for signs of skin pallor (66.6%), conjunctival pallor (79.8%), koilonychia (95.8%) or brittle hair (86.4%). The factors found to be significantly associated with anaemia included lower socioeconomic status (p<0.0001), paternal illiteracy (p=0.022) and paternal unemployment (p<0.0001). Furthermore, the study findings also re- vealed infrequent consumption of eggs (p=0.015), milk (p=0.019), spinach/green leafy vegetables (p=0.004) and chocolates/candies/biscuits/cakes (p=0.039) to be significantly associated with anaemia.
Conclusion: The study suggest that frequency of anaemia in teenage school girls was significantly associated with lower socioeconomic status, paternal illiteracy, unemployment, infrequent consump- tion of eggs, milk, spinach/green leafy vegetables and chocolates/candies/biscuits/cakes. Hence, urgent needs of improving paternal illiteracy, decreasing unemployment and increasing educational awareness in teenage girls regarding the consumption of iron rich foods.