Association between breastfeeding practices and anemia in children aged 6-60 months


  • T. R. Anjali Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
  • Shanavas Abbas Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
  • K. E. Elizabeth Department of Paediatrics, Sree Mookambika Institute of Medical Sciences, Kulasekaram, Tamil Nadu, India
  • M. Leelakumari Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India



Anemia, Association, Breastfeeding practices, Children


Background: Anemia is one of the most common nutritional problems in India. Anemia is significantly influenced by dietary factors. Objective was to study the association between breast feeding practices and occurrence of moderate to severe anemia in children aged 6-60 months in relation to those without anemia, admitted to SAT Hospital.

Methods: Case control study done at SAT Hospital. 85 moderates to severe anemic children and 85 non anemic children were enrolled in the study. Detailed history was taken including dietary history stressing infant and young child feeding practices. Physical examination was done including anthropometric measurements. Relevant haematological investigations were done.

Results: Highest percentage of cases 76.4 % were from the age group 6 months to 24 months. Out of 85 cases 58.8% were with exclusive breastfeeding<6 months and among controls is 37.6%. Association of lack of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and anemia is statistically significant. Lack of timely introduction of complementary feeding, poor score for infant and young child feeding practices, male gender, lack of iron rich foods, small for gestational age babies were also significantly associated.

Conclusions: Maximum number of anemic children were belonging to 6 months to 24 months, Lack of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months was a major risk factor for developing anemia in children. Lack of timely introduction of complimentary feeding at 6 months and poor infant and young child feeding practices were significant risk factors for developing nutritional anemia.


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