Dietary Correlates of Anemia and Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation among Antenatal Women in Rural Kozhikode, Kerala

Meera S Nair, Priya Chandran, Anirudh V Mutalik


Background: Anemia is one of the most common nutritional disorders in pregnancy which takes a heavy toll in terms of ill-health, premature death, and loss of earnings, making it a matter of great concern needing prioritization. Objectives: The objectives of the study were to assess the dietary factors associated with anaemia, and ‘iron and folic acid’ supplementation among antenatal women. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 295 antenatal women in all three trimesters residing in 6 selected panchayats of Kozhikode district. Cluster sampling method was adopted. Hemoglobin estimation was done and data were collected by direct interview using a pretested semistructured questionnaire after written informed consent. Results: Dietary factors such as irregular intake of iron-rich foods, ‘iron and folic acid’ supplementation tablets, and iron-folic acid tablets intake, in combination with calcium supplementation; were found to be significantly associated with anemia. Nutritional supplementation through Anganwadi was found to be ‘protective’. Regular intake of green leafy vegetables, fish, jaggery, and ragi was seen to have a protective effect on anemia, which was found to be statistically significant. Conclusion: The high prevalence of anemia in pregnancy needs obligatory supplementation of iron and folic acid tablets not only to pregnant women but also to adolescent girls along with correction of other nutritional deficiencies by improving the consumption of diversified foods and timely intervention for anemic women.

Key words: Anemia, diet, iron supplementation, pregnancy

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