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Anaemia in Men- Is Anaemia Seen in 3 in 10 Rural Men due to Iron Deficiency?

Anaemia among Men UPSC Relevance

Anaemia among Men: Iron Deficiency (Anaemic) among Men is less discussed issue in India. Anaemia among Men is important for UPSC Prelims 2023 and UPSC Mains Exam (GS Paper 2- Various issues and problems faced by vulnerable section of population including health related issues.)

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Anaemia among Men

  • While anaemia among adolescent girls and boys, and women, particularly those of reproductive age has been studied extensively, anaemia in men has been largely ignored.
  • A recent analysis of the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) has shed light on anaemia among men living in rural areas.

Anaemia and Iron Fortification

Findings about Anaemia among Men

  • The study of the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) published in PLOS Global Public Health, analysed the data of over 61,000 men aged between 15-54 years.
  • It found that three out of ten men in rural areas were anaemic; prevalence of anaemia was more in rural areas than in urban areas — one of five urban men are anaemic, while three out of every ten rural men are anaemic.
  • Prevalence of anaemia was found to be higher (34.7%) among men who were underweight compared with men who were overweight (19.3%).
  • Men who consumed alcohol and smoked had “slightly higher” occurrences of anaemia, and older men were found to be more vulnerable.
  • Men in the southern States had lower anaemia prevalence (18.5%), while prevalence was highest in the eastern region (34.1%).
    • Anaemia prevalence was 27.2% in the north region, 28.9% in west, 26.9% in northwest and 25% in the central region.

Global Hunger Index 2022- India in ‘Serious’ Category at Rank 107

Causes of Iron Deficiencies in Indian Men

  • Like the 2019 study, the authors of the latest paper stress that “the findings suggest the need to recognise anaemia among men as a public health issue”.
  • However, the latest study does not categorically state that anaemia in rural men is due to iron deficiency.
    • Researchers were not able to classify the type of anaemia as the NFHS-5 data had only haemoglobin concentration.
    • But previous studies have found that nearly 60% of anaemia in children and women of reproductive age is due to iron deficiency.
    • However, researchers are not sure if anaemia in men is due to iron deficiency.
  • The problem is assigning a cause for anaemia among men. It is not so likely to be iron deficiency as men do not lose iron every month through menstruation.
    • In fact, men do not lose iron unless they are bleeding from somewhere, or have some abnormal haemoglobin like thalassemia or sickle cell anaemia.

Suggestions in The Study

  • Despite not being sure if iron deficiency is indeed responsible for anaemia in rural men, the authors of the latest study write:
    • The benefits of existing programmes and policies related to anaemia eradication should be extended to men as well.
  • In addition, targeted interventions among susceptible groups of rural men are advised as a way to reduce the prevalence of anaemia.”
  • Iron supplementation was also recommended for men.
    • Since over 60% of anaemia overall is due to iron deficiency, researchers believed that it might perhaps be useful to provide iron supplementation for men as well to address anaemia.

Anaemia in Men FAQs


  1. What is Anaemia?

Ans. Anaemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. Having anaemia, also referred to as low hemoglobin, can make you feel tired and weak.


  1. How many rural men have anaemia?

Ans. Recent study of NFHS-5 found that three out of ten men in rural areas were anaemic.


  1. Which region of India has the highest and lowest anaemic prevalence in men?

Ans. Men in the southern States had lower anaemia prevalence (18.5%), while prevalence was highest in the eastern region (34.1%).

Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Strategy

Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Strategy

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