Agharkar Research Institute (ARI),which is working on a nationwide project to reduce the incidence of anaemia among women in the country,is collecting data on anaemic women and offering advice on adoption of better food habits among women for reducing iron deficiency. The data is being collected in collaboration with 16 other research institutes and non- governmental organisations (NGOs)
Under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) project Prevention of Anaemia Among Young Rural Women in India,ARI has been roped in to achieve national goal of reducing anaemia incidences among women.
Dr Bimba N Joshi,scientist,biometry and nutrition group ARI,said the institute is in the process of concluding the recommendations and has asked the other research institutions and NGOs to submit relevant data.
The ARI has been chosen for the project because of the earlier work done by the research institute in the field of nutritional health.
“Between 2003 and 2006, anaemia prevalence among women in three villages around Pune was monitored. The outcome of the first year of the project showed reduction in prevalence of anaemia in these villages by incorporating several social actions involving women. The social actions comprised developing recipes from green leafy vegetables,using low cost,easily available ingredients,live demonstration of these recipes,informal meeting with doctors and kitchen garden activity, said Joshi.
Significant decrease in cases of iron deficiency was
observed after the first year,a trend which continued in second year. Following this,an all India coordinated project,involving various centers from different states,was recently initiated,” he added.
Dr Medha Gokhale,another scientist of ARI,said earlier studies of the institute have revealed that poor nutrition in early life has an impact on adolescent health.
“Our studies have revealed that the health of adolescents is also impacted by the nutritional intake at the younger age. We have seen that undernutrition plays a major role in the blood pressure of adults,” said Gokhale.
Earlier,data collected by the ARI showed that the pregnancy outcome was adversely affected by early conception and prolonged adolescent growth.
Joshi said the ARI study on anemic women is focusing on collection of data related to the dietary habits of women in different climatic and geographic conditions of the country.
“The vegetables that are available in different parts of the country differ in the
content of nutrients,so the impact on health varies
from area to area,” she said.