A recent study published in The Lancet Global Health, which looked at anaemia among men in India, found that nearly a quarter of them (23.2% in a sample of 1 lakh men) in the age group 15-54 had some form of anaemia (The Indian Express, November 9). The study also covered 6 lakh women.
Cases among men ranged from moderate or severe (5.1%) to severe anaemia (0.5%). Among age groups, men in the group 20-34 years had the lowest probability of having anaemia, while actual prevalence was lowest in the age group 50-54, at 7.8%. The prevalence was higher for younger age groups. Among men with anaemia, 21.7% had moderate or severe anaemia; among women with anaemia, 53.2% had moderate or severe anaemia.
Among the states, the highest prevalence of any anaemia was in Bihar, with 32.9% of the men reporting it. This is followed by West Bengal (30.46%), Jharkhand (30.3%), Meghalaya (29.13%) and Odisha (28.45%). The lowest prevalence among men was in Manipur (9.19%), followed by Mizoram (9.78%), Nagaland (10.23%), Goa (10.68%) and Kerala (11.77%).
The World Health Organization defines anaemia as a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiological needs. Anaemia in men can cause fatigue, lethargy, creates difficulty in concentrating, thereby reducing the quality of life and decreasing economic productivity.
An estimated 1.9 billion people had anaemia in 2013, which is 27% of the world’s population, and 93% of these cases occur in low- and middle-income countries. Factors such as consuming smokeless tobacco, being underweight, level of urbanisation and household wealth are associated with a higher probability of developing the disease.
Data source: Lancet Global Health