Anemia during pregnancy increased among WIC participants

Lifestyle

The prevalence of anemia during pregnancy, identified using the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Participant and Program Characteristics (PC) data, increased from 2008 to 2018, according to research published in the June 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Florence A. Kanu, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined national and state agency anemia prevalence rates among pregnant WIC participants at enrollment using 2008 to 2018 WIC-PC data.

The researchers found that among pregnant WIC participants at enrollment, the prevalence of anemia increased significantly from 10.1 to 11.4 percent in 2008 and 2018, respectively. In 64 percent of the 56 agencies in states, the District of Columbia, and territories, anemia prevalence increased significantly, while significant decreases were seen in 20 percent. Non-Hispanic Black or African American women had a higher prevalence of anemia overall and by pregnancy trimester compared with other racial or ethnic groups. The prevalence of anemia was higher among women assessed during the third versus the first or second trimesters.

“WIC-PC allows for routine anemia surveillance to identify groups of women at higher risk for iron deficiency and provides evidence that anemia among pregnant women with low income is an ongoing public health problem,” the authors write.