ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
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
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Add your Article

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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