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The Web Editor
updated Jan. 2007

Fighting Malnutrition with Accurate Data, Correct Information and Innovative Technologies

FACT SHEET: Iron-Deficiency Anemia (IDA)
Do you know that in the Philippines .................
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is still a public health concern particularly among children 6 months to one year old, pregnant and lactating women?
The prevalence rate of IDA in pregnant mothers is lower in 2003 (43.9% or 44 in every 100) than in 1998 (50.7% or 51 in every 100)?
The prevalence rate of IDA in lactating women is lower in 2003 (42.2% or 42 in every 100) than in 1998 (45.7% or 46 in every 100)?

The prevalence rate of IDA among infants (six months to less than one year) is higher in 2003 (66.2% or 66 in every 100) than in 1998 (56.6% or 57 in every 100)?

Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

IDA is a condition characterized by a decrease in the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is necessary for transporting oxygen to tissues and organs in the body. The reduction in oxygen available to organs and tissues when hemoglobin levels are low is responsible for many of the symptoms experienced by anemic people. The consequences of IDA include general body weakness, frequent tiredness, and lowered resistance to disease.

Iron deficiency is the most common known form of nutritional deficiency among young children and women of childbearing age (particularly pregnant women). In pregnant women, it increases the risk for a pre-term delivery and delivering a low-birth weight baby.

Anemia Prevalence among Specific Population Groups, 2003
There is no change in the prevalence of anemia among children, six months to five years of age (31.8% in 1998 and 32.4% in 2003).

Among one year-old children, 53.0% are anemic, 34.8%,24.8%, 18.8%, and 14.7% are likewise anemic among children aged two, three, four and five years, respectively.

Among 6-12 year-old children, 37.4% are anemic.
Segregating children into single age grouping, the prevalence of anemia among infants is alarmingly high in 2003 (66.2%) compared to the previous survey in 1998 (56.6%).
For pregnant women, the prevalence of IDA had apparently declined from 50.7% to 43.9% but is still of public health significance.

For lactating women, the prevalence of IDA decreased from 45.7% in 1998 to 42.2% in 2003 but the rate is still of high magnitude.


To help prevent IDA in infants and children:

  • Include liver, eggyolk, and organ meats in their daily diets.
  • Increase intakes of vitamin C-rich foods to enhance absorption of iron in their bodies
  • Include inexpensive iron sources like leafy and yellow vegetables
  • Choose fortified foods when available.

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E-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph

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