Anemia remains a critical global public health concern and practical approaches to assessing anemia and its key determinants are required in both clinical and public health settings. To achieve global goals for anemia reduction, greater reliability, precision, and consistency of anemia assessment approaches are needed.

Anemia is characterized by low hemoglobin or hematocrit concentrations which are both relevant for the selection of assessment strategies. Limitations for the definition of anemia, including establishment of hemoglobin thresholds, exist. The choice of strategies to prevent and treat anemia should consider key causes of anemia in different settings, and these strategies should be prioritized based on the contribution of the different causes to the anemia burden.

Causes of anemia can generally be classified as non-nutritional causes (e.g., genetic disorders, infection, inflammation, and blood loss), and nutrition-related (e.g., deficiencies of iron and other key micronutrients including vitamin A, folate, vitamin B12, and others). A more systematic approach to anemia assessment, including an improved understanding of anemia etiologies, can better inform anemia control efforts.

USAID Advancing Nutrition’s Anemia Task Force has developed a diagnostic algorithm that uses a systematic approach to determine the prevalence and causes of anemia in a country or in subnational areas. The algorithm considers the proportion of anemia due to different causes in a population and suggests a sequence of biomarker tests that will help to determine the main causes of anemia. These causes can then be addressed with public health interventions. The algorithm also considers various population groups that may need targeted interventions, such as women of reproductive age or young children.

We found 28 resource(s)

Factors Associated with Anaemia in a Nationally Representative Sample of Nonpregnant Women of Reproductive Age in Nepal
National Micronutrient Status Survey published by Maternal & Child Nutrition in
This study evaluated haemoglobin, biomarkers of iron status and other micronutrients, infection, inflammation, and blood disorders from the cross‐sectional 2016 Nepal National Micronutrient Status Survey with the aim to evaluate factors associated with anaemia among a nationally representative sample of nonpregnant women of reproductive age.
Operational Guidance on Interventions to Reduce Anemia
Information, Education and Communication Materials published by WHO eLENA in
The below-listed external resources provide important information on relevant health topics related relevant for anemia and its etiologies.
Review of the Evidence Regarding the Use of Antenatal Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Literature Review published by Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in
This review presents the conclusions of a task force that set out to assess the prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes and adverse birth outcomes in low- and middle-income countries; the data from trials comparing multiple-micronutrient supplements that contain iron–folic acid with iron–folic acid supplements alone; the risks of reaching…
Predictors of Anemia in Women of Reproductive Age: Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) Project
Journal Article published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in
This study used data from 10 cross-sectional, nationally representative data to assess the associations between anemia and multiple proximal (e.g., iron and vitamin A deficiencies, inflammation, malaria, and body mass index) and distal risk factors (e.g., education status, household sanitation and hygiene, and urban or rural residence) in…
Predictors of Anemia in Preschool Children: Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) Project
Journal Article published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in
This study used cross-sectional data from 16 surveys to evaluate predictors of anemia in preschool children (6-59 months of age) by country and infection-burden category. Findings indicate that iron deficiency, malaria, breastfeeding, stunting, underweight, inflammation, low socioeconomic status, and poor sanitation were each associated with…
Malaria Control Interventions Contributed to Declines in Malaria Parasitemia, Severe Anemia, and All-Cause Mortality in Children Less Than 5 Years of Age in Malawi, 2000-2010
Journal Article published by American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in
This study evaluated the impact of malaria control efforts on malaria morbidity and all-cause childhood mortality in Malawi between 2000 and 2010.
Minerals in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Review Article
Literature Review published by Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in
This review provides information on the role of minerals in pregnancy and lactation and their rate of consumption, as well as complications induced by their deficiency or excess use. The function of minerals, their recommended daily intake, as well as maximum allowable daily intake for adults, pregnant, and lactating women are described.
Understanding Anemia: Guidance for Conducting a Landscape Analysis (November 2016)
Assessment Tool published by SPRING in
Understanding Anemia: Guidance for Conducting a Landscape Analysis is a tool that provides guidance to support data collection and analysis for understanding the anemia situation and supporting an evidence-based approach to anemia prevention and reduction. This tool is primarily directed at technical experts planning to carry out a landscape…