ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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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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