Need to tweak anaemia yardstick to our context:  Dr R Hemalatha

Anaemia has been plaguing Indian women for decades. Successive governments have tried to tackle the problem, since 1970s, without much success. 

Published: 01st September 2018 04:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2018 02:43 PM   |  A+A-

Dr R Hemalatha, Director of the National Institute of Nutrition interacting with the editorial team of The New Indian Express in Hyderabad on Friday | S Senbagapandiyan

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD:Anaemia has been plaguing Indian women for decades. Successive governments have tried to tackle the problem, since 1970s, without much success. Now, the National Institute of Nutrition feels we might have been looking at the problem in a skewed manner, perhaps without paying enough attention to Vitamin B12 and Aminoacids deficiency.

Not just that, the Institute also feels there is a need to change the yardstick used to decide if a woman is anaemic, to tweak it to Indian context. Dr R Hemalatha said they would soon publish an article on why anaemia is proving to be intractable in India.   

“Women in India face a unique problem of low grade sub-clinical systemic inflammation impairing widespread absorption of iron, that can be due to various reasons including environmental ingestion of non-pathogenic bacteria. The problem might also be of iron being sequestered in such tissues which make it unavailable for absorption for Haemoglobin synthesis,” says Hemalatha.  

“Another aspect of the problem that we are still probing is the standards of Anaemia for India. It might be different from what we are using right now.” Hemalatha also says that the NIN is now revising the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) after a span of more than a decade. In the recent years, a lot of data on nutritional habits and requirements have been generated in India which are being used for development of the new RDA.

The NIN will also work on identifying new biomarkers for deduction of cardiovascular diseases. It is also working with Food Safety Standards Association of India (FSSAI) in bringing out new regulations and strategies to reduce sodium content in processed food.

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