ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children

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 assess 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. For women, the rate of anemia was 10.8 percent during the first study period and 6.9 percent during the second.

The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia didn't drop significantly for either women or children. However, folate deficiency dropped in women during the two time periods from 4.1 percent to 0.5 percent, according to the study. Data on folate deficiency anemia in children wasn't included in the study.

One of the biggest nutritional changes that occurred during the two study periods was the addition of folic acid to breads, cereals and other grain products in the United States. But, Cusick said, even the introduction of folic acid-fortified foods didn't explain the drop in anemia prevalence.

One concerning point the study raised was the disparity in anemia rates between minority women and white women. Although anemia rates declined among black and Hispanic women, the prevalence of the condition still remained much higher in these groups. Nearly one in four black women was anemic, as were nearly 9 percent of Hispanic women. This compared to 3.3 percent of white women.

"The fact that about 25 percent of black women between 20 and 49 years of age are anemic should be considered a public health crisis," Dr. Donald Mahoney Jr., a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, wrote in an accompanying editorial in the journal.

Both Cusick and Mahoney said access to health care may be one of the issues contributing to the higher rates among minority women. Cusick said poor nutrition may also play a role.

"It's encouraging to see that the overall prevalence of anemia is declining in women and children, though certainly, as the authors clearly imply, there are still some important gaps that require additional study and intervention," Mahoney said.

-Serena Gordon

More information

To learn more about anemia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Sarah Cusick, Ph.D., micronutrient specialist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Donald H. Mahoney Jr., M.D., professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and director, hemophilia/thrombosis center, Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service, Houston; December 2008, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Last Updated: Dec. 08, 2008

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