Anemia in Rural China's Elementary Schools: Prevalence and Correlates in Shaanxi Province's Poor Counties

Ecology of Food and Nutrition, Vol. 49 no. 5, page(s) 357-372

Posted: 9 Apr 2013

See all articles by Renfu Luo

Renfu Luo

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

Max Kleiman-Weiner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Ai Yue

Northwest University (China)

Reynaldo Martorell

Emory University

Michelle Lee

Stanford University

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

Background: Despite growing wealth and the growing commitment of China’s government to providing quality education, a significant share of children across rural China still have no access to regular sources of iron-rich foods, vitamins and other micronutrients. Such poor diets may not only result in high incidences of nutritional problems, including anemia, good nutrition has been shown to be an effective input into the creation of human capital.

Objective: To increase our understanding of the extent of anemia in poor Shaanxi Province’s primary schools, and identify structural correlates of anemia in this region. Methods. A cross-section survey was conducted. Data were collected from 4000 grade fourth grand students (ages 9 to 11) in 70 primary schools in poor rural areas of Shaanxi province. Structured questionnaires and standard test were used to gather data. Trained nurses carried out the hemoglobin tests (using Hemocue finger prick kits) and anthropomorphic measurements using high quality equipment.

Results: The paper shows that the overall anemia rate is 21.5% (39%) when using a blood hemoglobin cutoff of 115 g/L (120 g/L). We find that those students that are boarding at school and those students that eat lunch away from home are more likely to be anemic. Children with anemia are found to have lower height for age (HAZ) scores and have higher incidences of stunting.

Conclusions: If this part of Shaanxi province is representative of the rest of Shaanxi’s poor rural areas (or all national designed poor counties in China), this means that tens of thousands (or millions) of children in rural Shaanxi (all national designed poor counties in China) may be anemic. Although we were not able to pinpoint the exact determinates and causal effects of anemia, the main implication of this work is that anemia remains a serious health problem for educators and health officials in rural China.

Keywords: Education, Nutrition, China

Suggested Citation

Luo, Renfu and Kleiman-Weiner, Max and Rozelle, Scott and Zhang, Linxiu and Liu, Chengfang and Sharbono, Brian and Shi, Yaojiang and Yue, Ai and Martorell, Reynaldo and Lee, Michelle, Anemia in Rural China's Elementary Schools: Prevalence and Correlates in Shaanxi Province's Poor Counties (September 1, 2010). Ecology of Food and Nutrition, Vol. 49 no. 5, page(s) 357-372. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2247036

Renfu Luo (Contact Author)

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

Building 917, Datun Road
Beijing 100101
China

Max Kleiman-Weiner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Scott Rozelle

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

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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

Brian Sharbono

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

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

Ai Yue

Northwest University (China) ( email )

229 Taibai North Rd
Beilin
Xian, Shaanxi
China

Reynaldo Martorell

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Michelle Lee

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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