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Anaemia Continues To Rise Among Women Of Childbearing Age And Children In The Country, Shows Fifth National Family Health Survey

The latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) has highlighted a worrying trend in the prevalence of anaemia among women across all states and Union Territories, especially in the childbearing age (15-49 years) which according to experts, is a contributing factor in anaemia among children also

Anaemia Continues To Rise Among Women Of Childbearing Age And Children In The Country, Shows Fifth National Family Health Survey
  • In West Bengal, 71.4% of women surveyed have anaemia, highest among states
  • Anaemia is higher among women than men in all states, as per NFHS 5
  • NFHS-5 revealed that anaemia among men has increased in 12 states/UTs

New Delhi: Findings of the phase-1 of the fifth round of Nation Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) recently released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) show that anaemia continues to be a worrying condition among women and children in almost all states and Union Territories in the country. Anaemia is a medical condition in which a person has a lower number of red blood cells, thereby reducing the ability of their blood to carry oxygen to the body’s organs. People suffering from this condition experience fatigues, shortness of breath, light-headedness, dizziness, and fast heartbeats among other symptoms. Experts say that anaemia can lead to serious problems including heart and lung complications and can also cause a lack of attention, delayed development of motor skills and problems with learning among children.

Also Read: Novel Study Suggests Iron Deficiency Can Be Managed Better

According to NFHS-5, out of the 17 states and five Union Territories (UTs) surveyed, the prevalence of anaemia among children under five years of age has increased in 16 states and two UTs. These are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telengana, Tripura, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Anaemia Continues To Rise Among Women Of Childbearing Age And Children In The Country, Shows Fifth National Family Health Survey

Anaemia Prevalence Among Children (Under 5 Years)

The highest increase in anaemia, among children surveyed, over the last five years was recorded in Assam (by 32.7 per cent), followed by Mizoram (by 27.1 per cent), Manipur (by 18.9 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (by 18.9 per cent) and Gujarat (by 17.1 per cent) the survey data has revealed.

The improvement in the status of anaemia was recorded in only one state and three UTs. The state of Meghalaya and the UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep were able to reduce anaemia by 2.9 per cent, 9 per cent, 6.2 per cent, and 10.5 per cent respectively.

NFHS-5 also highlights that most women in the country continue to suffer from anaemia. The data shows the prevalence of anaemia among women in the age group 15-49 has increased in 14 states including Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, and West Bengal and two UTs- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Anaemia Continues To Rise Among Women Of Childbearing Age And Children In The Country, Shows Fifth National Family Health Survey

Anaemia Prevalence Among Women(Age 15-49 Years)

With 71.4 per cent of the total women surveyed suffering from the condition, West Bengal has the highest prevalence of anaemia among women (15-49 years) in the country. Tripura has the second-highest share of anaemic women, 67.2 per cent, followed by Assam with 65.9 per cent. Among UTs, 92.8 per cent of women (15-49 years) surveyed in Ladakh have anaemia followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 65.9 per cent women suffering from the condition.

A decrease in anaemia among women was recorded in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya by 0.5 per cent, 1.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. In the UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, and Lakshadweep by 8.2 per cent, 10.4 per cent, and 20.2 per cent respectively.

Also Read: In Gujarat, 1000 Adolescent Girls Are Learning About Nutrition And Fighting Anaemia

The survey findings also show that in all the states, anaemia is much higher among women compared to men.

Almost 10 states and two UTs have recorded an increase in anaemia among men in the age group 15-49 years. These are: Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The highest prevalence of anaemia among men has been recorded in Ladakh (75.6 per cent).

Anaemia Continues To Rise Among Women Of Childbearing Age And Children In The Country, Shows Fifth National Family Health Survey

Anaemia Prevalence Among Men (Age 15-49 Years)

Assam Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir are the states/UT where anaemia has worsened in all children, women and men surveyed under NFHS-5.

According to Dr Shweta Khandelwal is Head, Nutrition Research and Additional Professor, Public Health Foundation of India,

NFHS-5 has shown that anaemia is worsening across most states and in the majority of our population. This is a serious issue which requires attention and discussion. Anaemia has several consequences like poor cognition, decreased productivity, sub-optimal health among others. Also, there is a need to understand that anaemia is not an iron deficiency issue alone. Several nutrients are important here while the authorities are only focusing on iron-fortified foods. Our sole obsession (in programs and policy) with feeding or enhancing elemental iron to tackle anaemia in a country as disperse and diverse as India, is short-sightedness. Research shows that improving Vitamin C, B12 and folate intake among other key nutrients may be promising in improving nutritional anaemia. Of course, other nutrition-sensitive interventions like better WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), mother’s education among others also influence both prevalence and incidence of anaemia.

Commenting on the impact of programmes like Anaemia Mukt Bharat, a programme under POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) aiming to make the country free from anaemia, Dr. Khandelwal said,

Policy efforts are well-intentioned but not optimally positioned to make India Anaemia Mukt in the near future. Fortification is not a panacea and studies have shown the differential effect of the same amount of supplemental iron being given to people across different geographies.

Also Read: 5 Foods To Eliminate Iron Deficiency Anaemia

She recommends that strategies to tackle anaemia should take into account the conditions in each state – the facilitators and barriers to reducing anaemia prevalence in each region. Empower people with the right information and ability to access better healthier foods grown locally, she added. Dr. Khandelwal said,

Industry must not be allowed to promote and sell ultra-processed foods and powders in the name of fortified products or enhanced nutrition. Please realize processing millets and making chocolate-coated candies of millet will not curb anaemia or for that matter any health issue. Traditional recipes with minimally processed locally grown ingredients will be definitely better than packaged HFSS (High Fat, Sugar and salt) products.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Basanta Kumar Kar, International Development Professional in Nutrition said,

In order to address anaemia, POSHAN sets a target to reduce anaemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3 per cent per annum. In order to bring down key malnutrition indicators like anaemia to single digits by 2040, India needs to Double or even quadruple the current rate of reduction levels by giving it the required push. Increase in anaemia, as reported by NFHS-5 needs deeper introspection because some states are facing a reverse in the gains made towards the efforts to tackle anaemia. A state like Sikkim that improved the situation between NFSH 3 and 4 seem to be performing poorly in NFHS 5. Similarly,a persistent increase of anaemia in an advanced state like Kerala is a cause of concern.

He further noted that the condition has worsened among women in childbearing age, in spite of better reach of ANMs (Auxiliary Nursing Midwifery), more antenatal checks, more distribution of iron-folic acid and institutional deliveries.

Mr. Kar further said that the condition is highly prevalent even among the frontline warriors fighting anaemia. He said,

It is a paradox, indeed. A large number of our nutrition warriors like the grassroots functionaries, smallholder farmers, workforce engaged in industries that are pivotal to anaemia reduction are themselves anaemic. We need to invest in workforce nutrition and specifically the reduction of anaemia among the workers and their children.

The experts suggest enhancing efforts and investments during the first 1,000 days of a child along with addressing anaemia among adolescent girls, early marriages, school drop-outs and poor sanitation including menstrual hygiene practices.

Also Read: Most Anaemic Women Are Not Aware That They Are Dealing With Anaemia: Lovneet Batra, Clinical Nutritionist

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.


3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70


45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214


29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13


West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14


14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18



10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5


10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26



9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4



8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14



7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20



7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15



6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1


6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2


5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6


3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4



3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2


1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2


1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46



1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3


83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44



82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5


79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1


65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4


Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1


31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70



30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3


20,743 6

144 6



Dadra And Nagar Haveli


0 0




10,360 1

9 1



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3


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