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Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Date:12/8/2008

But they remain disproportionately high for minority women, study finds,,

MONDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer American women and children are developing anemia, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

But the researchers can't pinpoint reasons for the improvement.

The report found that rates of anemia in children dropped by more than half, from 8 percent to less than 4 percent. And among women the rates declined from nearly 11 percent to about 7 percent.

"The positive news is that anemia prevalence has gone down. Anemia has been associated with impaired cognitive development in children, and possibly impaired cognition in women," said the study's lead author, Sarah Cusick, a micronutrient specialist with the CDC in Atlanta.

"We tried to accesses what possible causes of anemia might have contributed to the decline. There are many different causes of anemia -- some are nutritional, while others can be caused by inflammation. What we found was that none of those possible causes could account for the significant decline we saw in U.S. women and children. This was an unexplained decline," Cusick said.

Results of the study were published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Anemia is a condition in which there's a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells in the blood. Symptoms can include fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

To assess the rates of anemia, Cusick and her colleagues compared two datasets from a large, nationally representative trial, the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys (NHANES). The first dataset included information from 1988 to 1994 and the second contained information from 1999 through 2002.

The rate of anemia in children was 8 percent for the first survey and 3.6 percent for the second.
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