Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Poverty and undernutrition

Prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in south-east China, 1993–2005

Lei Jina1, Lorraine F Yeunga2 c1, Mary E Cogswella2, Rongwei Yea1, Robert J Berrya2, Jianmeng Liua1, Dale J Hua2 and Li Zhua1

a1 Institute of Reproductive and Child Health, Peking University Health Science Center, People’s Republic of China

a2 National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop E86, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA


Objective To report the prevalence of anaemia by demographic characteristics and its secular trend over 13 years for south-east Chinese pregnant women, and to determine the focus of anaemia prevention in Chinese pregnant women.

Design Prospective study of the data on Hb concentration and other demographic information from a large-scale population-based perinatal health surveillance system in south-east China.

Setting Fourteen cities or counties in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Subjects A total of 467 057 prenatal women who had participated in the perinatal health-care surveillance system and delivered babies from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 2005 and had a record of Hb in all three pregnancy trimesters.

Results The overall prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women was 39·6 % from 1993 to 2005. Anaemia prevalence increased from the first (29·6 %) to the second (33·0 %) and third (56·2 %) trimesters. The prevalence of anaemia was higher in villagers, in women with less education and in women with higher gravidity or parity. The prevalence of anaemia in all of the trimesters was higher in the spring, summer and autumn and lower in the winter. The prevalence decreased from 1993 to 2005, from 53·3 % to 11·4 % for the first trimester, 45·6 % to 22·8 % for the second trimester and 64·6 % to 44·6 % for the third trimester.

Conclusions The prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces decreased substantially from 1993 to 2005. However, anaemia in the third trimester is still a severe public health problem among pregnant women in these areas.

(Received November 30 2009)

(Accepted April 22 2010)

(Online publication June 25 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email