Volume 78, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Iron deficiency anemia poses an important public health problem for women of reproductive age living in developing countries. We assessed the prevalence of iron deficiency and anemia and associated risk factors in a community-based sample of women living in a rural province of northwest Vietnam. A cross-sectional survey, comprised of written questionnaires and laboratory analysis of hemoglobin (Hb), ferritin, transferrin receptor, and stool hookworm egg count, was undertaken, and the soluble transferrin receptor/log ferritin index was calculated. Of 349 non-pregnant women, 37.53% were anemic (Hb < 12 g/dL), and 23.10% were iron deficient (ferritin < 15 ng/L). Hookworm infection was present in 78.15% of women, although heavy infection was uncommon (6.29%). Iron deficiency was more prevalent in anemic than non-anemic women (38.21% versus 14.08%, < 0.001). Consumption of meat at least three times a week was more common in non-anemic women (51.15% versus 66.67%, = 0.042). Mean ferritin was lower in anemic women (18.99 versus 35.66 ng/mL, < 0.001). There was no evidence of a difference in prevalence (15.20% versus 17.23%, = 0.629) or intensity (171.07 versus 129.93 eggs/g, = 0.412) of hookworm infection between anemic and non-anemic women. Although intensity of hookworm infection and meat consumption were associated with indices of iron deficiency in a multiple regression model, their relationship with hemoglobin was not significant. Anemia, iron deficiency, and hookworm infection were prevalent in this population. Intake of meat was more clearly associated with hemoglobin and iron indices than hookworm. An approach to addressing iron deficiency in this population should emphasize both iron supplementation and deworming.


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  • Received : 19 Aug 2007
  • Accepted : 25 Nov 2007

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