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Correlates of anemia among women of reproductive age in Ethiopia: Evidence from Ethiopian DHS 2005

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Background: Globally, 41.8% of pregnant women and 30.2% of non-pregnant women are anemic. Previous studies which attempted to identify determinants of anemia among women of reproductive age reported conflicting findings. Objective: To assess the correlates of anemia among women of reproductive age in Ethiopia. Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study carried out based on the secondary data of the Ethiopia Demographic Health Survey (EDHS) 2005. Data of a total of 5963 women of reproductive age were included in the analysis. Data were mainly analyzed using ANOVA and binary logistic regression. Result: The prevalence of anemia was 27.4% (95% CI: 26.3-28.5%). Rural residence, poor educational and economic status, 30-39 years of age and high parity were key factors predisposing women to anemia. Lactating women and those who gave birth in the month of the interview had 1.3 (p = 0.000) and 2.2 (p = 0.012) times higher risk than their counterparts. Those not using contraceptive were 1.4 times (p = 0.02) more likely to develop anemia than current contraceptive users. The average Dietary Diversity Score (DDS) was only 4.01, and not more than 15% of the respondents consumed iron rich foods in the preceding day of the survey. Respondents with low DDS and those who did not consume iron rich foods in the reference period had significantly higher risk of anemia with odds ratio of 1.3 (p = 0.01) and 1.3 (p = 0.002), respectively. Utilizing maternity services, taking iron and vitamin A supplement during pregnancy and postpartum period, respectively, didn’t have a significant effect in reducing the burden of anemia. Recommendation: Family planning, economic and educational empowerment of women have affirmative inputs in combating anemia. A combination of nutrition, educational and livelihood promotion strategies should be instated to enhance dietary diversity. Maternal nutrition interventions should be integrated in a stronger manner into maternity services.


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