Co-occurrence of anemia and low BMI in Vietnam Open Access

Komphasouk, Banthida (2014)

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Co-occurrence of anemia and low BMI in Vietnam

By Banthida Komphasouk

Objective: Anemia is a major public health problem worldwide. The causes of anemia are complex and often are shared with other nutritional issues. Anemia is most common among poorer regions of the world such as in Africa and Southeast Asia where low Body Mass Index (BMI) is also common. Yet, research on the co-occurrence of low BMI and anemia are lacking. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between low BMI and anemia in non-pregnant women of low socioeconomic status from rural Vietnam.

Methods: Data on non-pregnant women used in this study were obtained from a randomized controlled study known as PRECONCEPT. Baseline data on demographic, anthropometric measurements, hemoglobin concentration, social-economic status, household food insecurity and risk factors on 4972 women of reproductive age (15-44 years) were used. A descriptive analysis on anemia, low BMI and its co-existence as well as tests of mutual dependency to detect co-occurrence among anemia, low BMI and food insecurity were performed. Multiple logistic regressions were used to test associations of anemia, underweight and food insecurity with age, education, socio-economic status, hookworm and parity.

Results: Anemia (Hb < 12 g/dl) was present in 19.6 % of women, low BMI (<18.5 kg/m2) in around a third (31.5%) and 5.6% of the women had both anemia and low BMI. Mutual dependency tests (observed/expected) showed evidence for two co-occurrence combinations, anemia and low BMI (6.2% vs. 5.6%) and anemia and food insecurity (6.9% vs. 6.2%). After adjusting for potential confounders, BMI status, age, SES and education were significant predictors of anemia. Age was associated with low BMI while SES, education, age and parity were predictive of food insecurity.

Conclusion: Despite statistical evidence for co-occurrence, differences between expected and observed prevalence were small, suggesting that having one problem does not necessarily increase the probability of having the other. Effective nutrition intervention for this population should not only focus on food security but programs that empower women to reach their full potential through promoting education, increase skills and opportunities to increase household incomes and birth spacing.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Context of project: 1

Anemia and its implications. 1

Low body mass index and its implications. 3

Problem statement: 5

Vietnam Context 7

Purpose of project: 10


Research Design. 11

Sample population. 12

Study variables. 12

Demographic data and risk factors. 12

Body Mass Index. 13

Anemia. 13

Socio-economic status (SES). 13

Food insecurity. 14

Statistical analysis. 14

Chapter 3: RESULTS. 16

Descriptive characteristics. 16

Mutual dependency between Anemia, Low BMI and Food Insecurity. 21

Predictors of Anemia, Low BMI and Food Insecurity in Vietnamese women. 21

CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION AND Recommendation.. 25

Discussion and key findings. 25

Strengths and limitations. 28

Recommendations. 29

Reference: 31

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