ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
ANIMAL CARE
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Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Get to Know the Pap Test
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
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Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
EYE CARE, VISION
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
FITNESS
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
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
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
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Drink Away Dementia?
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
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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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