Anaemia Among Students of Rural China's Elementary Schools: Prevalence and Correlates in Ningxia and Qinghai's Poor Counties

Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 29, No. 5, page(s) 471–485

Posted: 9 Apr 2013

See all articles by Renfu Luo

Renfu Luo

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP)

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Qiran Zhao

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Grant Miller

Stanford University - School of Medicine; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elaine Yu

Independent

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Reynaldo Martorell

Emory University

Alexis Medina

Stanford University

Date Written: October 1, 2011

Abstract

Although the past few decades have seen incomes rise and increased government commitment to helping the poor, there is concern that a large fraction of children in rural China still lack regular access to micronutrient-rich regular diets. Insufficient diets and poor knowledge of nutrition among low income populations can result in nutritional problems, including iron deficiency anemia, which adversely affect attention and learning in school. Surprisingly, there has been little research in China trying to document the prevalence of nutritional problems among certain vulnerable populations, such as school-aged children in rural areas. The absence of programs to combat iron deficiency anemia among students might be interpreted as a sign that the government does not recognize the severity of this problem. The goal of this paper is to increase our understanding of the extent of anemia among school-aged children in poor regions of Qinghai and Ningxia, and to identify structural correlates of anemia in this region. We report on the results of a cross-sectional survey involving over 4000 fourth grade students, from 76 randomly selected elementary schools in 10 poor counties in Qinghai Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, in China’s poor northwest region. Data were collected through structured questionnaires and standardized tests. Trained professional nurses administered hemoglobin (Hb) tests (using Hemocue finger prick kits) and anthropomorphic measurements using high quality equipment. Our baseline data shows that the overall anemia rate is 34.5% (23.0%) using the World Health Organization’s blood Hb cutoff of 120g/L (115g/L). We find that students who live and eat at school have higher rates of anemia. Children with less-educated parents are more likely to be anemic. Higher anemia rates are associated with students with parents working on farms and away from home. Anemia rates are correlated with adverse physical (lower body mass index (BMI) z-scores and higher incidences of stunting), cognitive and psychological impacts among students. Such findings are consistent with recent findings of other studies in other poor areas in China’s Northwest.

Suggested Citation

Luo, Renfu and Zhang, Linxiu and Liu, Chengfang and Zhao, Qiran and Shi, Yaojiang and Miller, Grant and Yu, Elaine and Sharbono, Brian and Rozelle, Scott and Martorell, Reynaldo and Medina, Alexis, Anaemia Among Students of Rural China's Elementary Schools: Prevalence and Correlates in Ningxia and Qinghai's Poor Counties (October 1, 2011). Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 29, No. 5, page(s) 471–485. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247020

Renfu Luo (Contact Author)

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) ( email )

Building 917, Datun Road
Beijing 100101
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Qiran Zhao

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) ( email )

Theodor-Lieser-Str.2
Halle, 06120
Germany

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Grant Miller

Stanford University - School of Medicine ( email )

291 Campus Drive
Li Ka Shing Building
Stanford, CA 94305-5101
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Elaine Yu

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Reynaldo Martorell

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Alexis Medina

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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