Women Health. 2022 Jun 14:1-14. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2022.2085845. Online ahead of print.
Health and nutritional status of the women of reproductive age (WRA) is expected to be influenced with women literacy status alongside other sociodemographic indicators. However, data are scant to validate if literate young women have lower incidence of anemia prevalence. Nexus to the problem stated, a cross-sectional study was conducted on 1,541 female resident university students (FRUS) aged 17-35 years from a public sector university located in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. Hemoglobin (Hb) led screening for anemia was performed followed by nutritional assessment and structured questionnaire-based sociodemographic and dietary assessment. The data generated were analyzed using independent t-test, Chi-square, and response surface regression models. Response rate for the prevalence of anemia in FRUS was 38 percent with mean Hb levels 10.5 g/dL. With a significant effect (p = .001) of participants’ weight on anemia prevalence, 22.45 percent of the sample population was recorded as underweight. Sociodemographic and dietary parameters analyzed suggested low daily food expenditure (x2 = 20.59; p = .000) and reduced intake of meat (x2 = 12.14; p = .01), beans & pulses (x2 = 18.56; p = .001) to significantly influence rate of anemia prevalence in FRUS. The study concludes high prevalence rate of anemia among FRUS to strongly relate with students’ low monthly stipend, little daily food expenditure, and substandard dietary quality.