British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Anaemia is associated with reduced productivity of women workers even in less-physically-strenuous tasks

Barbara D. Scholza1, Rainer Grossa2 p1, Werner Schultinka2 and Soemilah Sastroamidjojoa1

a1 SEAMEO-TROPMED Regional Center for Community Nutrition, University of Indonesia, Salemba Raya 6, Jakarta 10036, Indonesia

a2 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany


While many studies show reduced work output in heavy labour with poor nutritional status, data among less-physically-strenuous industrial occupations is scarce. In the present study the output of ninety-two women jute-factory workers over a 1-month period was measured together with haemoglobin, BMI, arm muscle and fat area, physical work capacity (maximum O2 consumption; S0007114500002877_inline1), as well as socio-economic, health and activity variables. A significant correlation was found between haemoglobin and work output, which remained significant (P < 0·005) after a multipleregression analysis with other potentially confounding factors. Anaemic workers and those with S0007114500002877_inline1 values less than 1·5 1/min were significantly less active at home than non-anaemic workers (P < 0·015). Anaemic women produced an average of 5·3% less in the factory and performed an average of 6·5 h less housework per week.

(Received July 03 1995)

(Revised March 21 1996)

(Accepted May 01 1996)


p1 Present address: PO Box 3852, 10038 Jakarta, Indonesia.


† For reprints.