Prevalence of anaemia among 6- to 59-month-old children in India: The latest picture through the NFHS-4

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Biosocial Science


India is the highest contributor to child anaemia among developing countries. To see the latest picture of child anaemia in India, data for 6- to 59-month-old children were taken from the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey conducted in 2015-16 (NFHS-4). The study sample consisted of 1,37,347 children. The dependent variable was the anaemia status of the child. The objectives of the study were to assess (i) the distribution of anaemia prevalence by child age group, (ii) the prevalence of child anaemia by zone and state and (iii) the relation of child anaemia prevalence with social, demographic and economic variables, including maternal nutritional status and low birth weight. The study found that in India in 2015-16, 56% of 6- to 59-month-old children were anaemic - a decrease of only 13.5 percentage points since the NFHS-3 study conducted in 2005-06. It is well known that iron supplementation is necessary for child growth and brain development. This study suggests that, in addition, the socioeconomic conditions of households in India need to be improved to prevent child anaemia. Low birth weight and low maternal nutritional status are also responsible for the high prevalence of anaemia among children in India.



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