Numbers of anaemic and obese women, men spike: Survey

57% women of reproductive age and over 67% kids under five years anaemic, health survey finds: Report

The report states that obesity has also increased among men from 18.9 per cent to 22.9 per cent and from 20.6 per cent to 24 per cent in women

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

According to the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (2019-20), anaemia among children and women is a cause for concern, with data indicating that 57 per cent of women of reproductive age are anaemic. This has increased from 53.1 per cent in 2015-16.

The National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) data shows that that the proportion of anaemic children under the age of five years has increased to 67.1 per cent (in 2019-20) from 58.6 per cent from the previous survey (2015-16), while the proportion of anaemic teenage girls aged 15-19 years increased from 54.1 per cent to 59.1 per cent. The proportion of anaemic men has also increased from 22.7 per cent to 25 per cent.

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The report states that obesity has also increased among men — from 18.9 per cent to 22.9 per cent — and women — from 20.6 per cent to 24 per cent — according to the NFHS-5 data.

For the NFHS-5, the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, was the nodal agency, with the survey conducted in two parts, from June 17, 2019 to January 30, 2020 and then from January 2, 2020 to April 30, 2021. As many as 17 field agencies gathered the data from 6,36,699 households, 7,24,115 women, and 1,01,839 men.

Dr T V Sekher, Professor and Head, Department of Family and Generations, IIPS, said that anaemia among children and women continues to be high.

“It is possible that household income levels have dropped during the last few years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and related lack of employment has been reflected to some extent on money spent. Also there is a need for a nutritious diet to be given for the growth of children,” Dr Sekher told The Indian Express.

Dr Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India, said that the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity is marked among urban women. “Nutrition and demographic transitions are driving the advancing epidemic of non-communicable diseases that have already emerged as the foremost public health challenge,” he told the publication.

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