oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Anaemia in South Africa : the past, the present and the future : guest editorial

Volume 26, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



Despite some modest improvements described recently, anaemia remains a significant global public health concern affecting both developed and developing countries. It affects a quarter of the global population, including 293-million (47%) children who are younger than five years of age. A prevalence of 42% and 30% has been described in pregnant and non-pregnant women, respectively. Children and women of reproductive age are at high risk, partly because of physiological vulnerability, followed by the elderly. Africa and Asia are the most heavily affected regions, accounting for 85% of the absolute anaemia burden in high-risk groups. According to the World Health Organization global database on anaemia (1993-2005), this haematological disorder was considered to be a moderate public health problem at the time in South African preschool children, pregnant women and non-pregnant women of reproductive age.

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