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Fast food trend and missing meals contributing to adolescent anaemia

Posted:  Thursday, September 10, 2015

Unavailability of nutrients and nutritious food is no longer the primary cause for iron deficiency anaemia among adolescents, especially from urban and affluent areas. Nowadays, missing regular meals and snacking on fast foods are the top reasons for poor iron status. Truly so, nationwide trends show an increasing number of urban and affluent adolescents falling prey to iron deficiency anaemia.

The subject of adolescent anaemia occupied center stage at a state-level workshop organised as part of the National Nutrition Week by the Food and Nutrition Board Puducherry, Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute. The theme for the National Nutrition Week 2015 is ‘Better Nutrition: Key to Development’. The workshops were attended by close to 200 nursing students, healthcare workers, and medical students.

The 2005-06 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) showed that 56% of girls aged 15 to 19 were anaemic along with 30% of boys. So grave is the matter of adolescent anaemia in the Union Territory of Puducherry that the figures of adolescent anaemia remained high even in the recent 2012-13 District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS-4). According to DLHS-4, 43.9% girls aged between 10 to 19 years and 30% boys were shown to be anaemic in Puducherry.

Pregnant women did not fare any better with 53% of them having anaemia during pregnancy as shown by DLHS-4. Menstruation also contributes to the increased risk for anaemia among adolescent girls. During pregnancy, anaemia could be costly as it could result in complications and even maternal mortality.

Sadly, the status of other micronutrients, namely zinc, iodine, vitamin A and folate could be poor among adolescent girls due to which their deficiency was highlighted as a serious public health problem. Out of all the micronutrients, zinc happens to be one of the most problem nutrients chorus health experts.

Hence, this year’s National Nutrition Week aimed to create awareness among various health professionals. In that regard, a workshop was held to provide insights on assessment of nutritional status, early detection of diseases, creating awareness on nutrition at the community level, and prevention of non-communicable diseases.

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