Prevalence of anemia among health science students of a university in South India

Subramaniyan K., Melvin George, Deepika Seshadri, Amrita Jena, N. Chandraprabha


Background: Anemia due to iron deficiency continues to be the major public health problem in developing as well as developed countries affecting quality of life and work capacity of large population throughout the world. It is being observed that prevalence of anemia is more in students of both the genders due to several factors like improper nutrition intake, socio-economic background etc. The objective of our study was to determine the prevalence of anemia among health science students of a private university in South India.

Methods: A total of 568 university students between 18-45 years participated in the study. Patients who underwent major surgery less than three months before and who had donated blood within the last three months were excluded. Baseline characteristics of all the patients were recorded. 1.5 ml of blood was collected from all the study patients for complete haemogram test. WHO criterions were taken for determining severity of anemia with determined hemoglobin (Hb) concentration.

Results: Among the study subjects, 43% (n=237) had anaemia as per the WHO criteria. There was a significant preponderance of female students with anaemia as compared to males (97 vs. 68%, p=0.0001). Anaemic subjects had a higher risk of bleeding disorders as compared to non-anaemic subjects (16 vs. 12%, p=0.0001). When assessed by WHO criteria of anemia severity, majority of the anemic subjects had mild anemia and only less than two percent had severe anemia.

Conclusions: Present study showed the prevalence of anemia among university health science students to be 43%. The need of the hour is to provide health education on the ill-effects of anemia and the life-style modification particularly with respect to eating habits along with nutritional supplementation.


Anemia, Female, India, Prevalence, University health science students

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