Rising anaemia cases in children due to poor diet, lack of hygiene, breastfeeding, say doctors


Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Apr 30 : Inadequate intake of iron-rich diets, poor hygiene practices and the lack of breastfeeding among children are the primary causes behind the increasing cases of anaemia, according to doctors.

Doctors who spoke with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO said that with concerted efforts and targeted interventions, people can take steps to eradicate this health concern and ensure a brighter, healthier future for their children.

Pediatrician Dr Rukhsana said that insufficient consumption of iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals, along with poor hygiene practices and limited access to clean water, contribute to anaemia among children.

She said that poor hygiene practices along with the lack of access to clean water increases the risk of infections like parasitic infections that also can lead to anemia among children.

Dr Showkat, another paediatrician, said that the limited availability of healthcare facilities in remote areas delays the diagnosis and treatment of anaemia, which creates long-term health implications. He said most mothers avoid breastfeeding due to which the children often miss out on essential nutrients obtained through breastfeeding, which can lead to anaemia.

Doctors said poverty and food insecurity were also the factors leading to anaemia, as families with limited financial resources struggle to provide nutritious meals. “Adequate intake of vitamin B12 and folate, nutrient-rich foods, breastfeeding, complementary foods, dietary diversity, hygiene, and food safety are crucial in preventing anaemia among children,” they said.

“There is a need for nutritional education, access to nutritious food, iron supplementation, hygiene, proper sanitation practices, improved healthcare infrastructure in remote areas, early screening and treatment, and empowerment of marginalised communities to effectively tackle anaemia among children,” they added.

According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), data, approximately three-fourths (73%) of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic in the region. This includes 25 percent who are mildly anaemic, 44 percent who are moderately anaemic, and 4 percent who have severe anaemia.

“The overall prevalence of anaemia in children increased from 43 percent in NFHS-4 to 73 percent in NFHS-5. There is a slight difference in the prevalence of anaemia among girls (71%) and boys (71%) in NFHS-5,” the data reveals—(KNO)


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