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Iron, folate, and vitamin B12 stores among pregnant women in a rural area of Haryana State, India

Authors: Pathak, Priyali; Kapil, Umesh; Yajnik, C.S.; Kapoor, S.K.; Dwivedi, S.N.; Singh, Rajvir

Source: Food & Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 4, December 2007 , pp. 435-438(4)

Publisher: Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation

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Background. Iron, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have adverse effects on pregnancy outcome. In India, data on the concomitant prevalence of these deficiencies among pregnant women are meager.

Objective. We conducted a community-based study to assess the prevalence of deficiencies of iron, folate, and vitamin B12 among pregnant women in a rural block of Haryana State.

Methods. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. A total of 283 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. After oral informed consent had been obtained from the women, blood was drawn from the antecubital vein for estimation of the levels of serum ferritin by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (levels < 12 ng/mL were considered as indicative of poor iron stores); serum folate was determined by radioimmunoassay (levels < 3 ng/mL were considered as indicative of poor folate stores); and serum vitamin B12 was estimated by the microbiologic method (levels < 200 pg/mL were considered as indicative of poor vitamin B12 stores).

Results. The results indicated that 67.7%, 26.3%, and 74.1% of the women had poor iron, folate, and vitamin B12 stores, respectively. Concomitant deficiencies of iron, folate, and vitamin B12 occurred in 16.2% of the women. We found that 59.9% of the women were consuming less than 75% of the recommended daily caloric allowance (2,175 kcal), indicating an overall poor food intake. This could be one of the predominant reasons for poor iron, folate, and vitamin B12 stores among the women.

Conclusions. Our findings suggest that apart from iron and folate, vitamin B12 deficiencies may play an important role in causing anemia.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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