Research Article: Prevalence of Iron Deficiency Anemia among University Students in Hodeida Province, Yemen

Date Published: April 23, 2018

Publisher: Hindawi

Author(s): Abdullah Ahmed Al-alimi, Salem Bashanfer, Mohammed Abdo Morish.


Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is one of the most common types of nutritional anemia in the worldwide and considered a major public health problem in developing countries especially in Yemen. Therefore, this cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors of IDA among apparently healthy Yemeni students at Hodeida University.

Five hundred blood samples (326 males and 174 females) were collected randomly from medical students at Hodeida University. Participants were subjected to different tests including complete blood counts (CBC), serum ferritin (SF), serum iron (SI), and total iron binding capacity (TIBC). Moreover, a questionnaire was designed to collect demographics, food and drink habits, and socioeconomic status.

The overall prevalence of IDA was 30.4%  (n = 152), of whom 54.00% were females (n = 82) and 46.0% were males (n = 70). Students aged 20–22 years were found more anemic with prevalence 59.2% than students aged 17–19 years (25.0%) and 23–25 years (15.8%). Statistical analysis showed regularly having breakfast had significant (p < 0.001) role in preventing development of IDA compared with irregularly having breakfast. Infrequent consumption of vegetables/fruits; meat, fish, chicken; tea drinking; low household income; smoking and khat (Catha edulis) chewing showed a significant role (p < 0.001) in provoking of IDA, whereas consumption of coffee and cola showed insignificant influence (p = 0.585; p = 0.513) on IDA. This study revealed that the majority of university students, especially females, have IDA that might become worse by malnutrition, lifestyle habits, and lack of awareness. Our results suggest that IDA can be prevented by providing proper knowledge on the healthful diet, improved lifestyle, and harmful effect of IDA to the students.

Partial Text

Anemia is a major public health problem in the worldwide with prevalence of 43% in developing countries and 9% in developed nations [1]. It is widespread in individuals at any stage of life, although pregnant-reproductive women and young children are most susceptible, which may increase the risk of impaired cognitive and physical development and increased mortality and morbidity rate [2].

Iron deficiency anemia is the most nutritional anemia in developed countries and become a significant health burden in the world. Many studies have demonstrated the association of IDA with impaired cognitive performance and impaired work productivity in adults [13, 14]. Previous studies have been shown the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (34.2%) among Yemeni children aged ≤ 15 years in rural areas [3]. The current study is considered the first study to demonstrate the prevalence and risk factors of IDA among medical university students in Hodeida province, Yemen. Our findings showed the prevalence of IDA among medical university students (30.4%), of whom (54.00%) were female (n = 82) and (46.00%) were male (n = 70), which agrees with previous WHO’s report that estimated the prevalence of anemia among females at reproductive age was more than 50% [15].

IDA is highly prevalent and considered as serious health problems among university students, in Hodeidah province, Yemen. Our findings showed that more than half of the female students were found to be IDA than males. Most of cases IDA were occurring due to the lack of healthy iron-rich foods in daily food, drinking tea, irregular intake of breakfast, low household monthly income, and chewing khat, all of those were identified as the significant risk factors increasing the prevalence of IDA among university students. To prevent the prevalence of IDA among students, a proper health education to increase knowledge about anemia and its causative factors, benefits of taking iron-rich food, and avoiding unhealthy food and drink intake is needed.




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