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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 236-241

Evaluation of promotion of iron-rich foods for the prevention of nutritional anemia in India

1 Ex Director Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
3 Additional Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Davendra K Taneja
Flat No. 1103, Tower 6, The Close North, Nirvana Country, Sector 50, Gurugram - 122 018, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_65_20

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Background: Nutritional anemia due to iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in India. The average diet in India is low in iron and mostly of vegetable origin. This can be improved by increasing awareness of foodstuffs that are rich in iron and ensuring their availability. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the quality of information available on iron-rich foods and to assess their production and consumption in India. Methods: This was a review of common textbooks for medical, nursing, and home science students; related policy and program documents; and government publications on production and consumption of various foodstuffs in India. Results: Details of specific foods that are rich in iron have not been provided. Instead, food groups such as pulses, cereals, nuts, and green leafy vegetables (GLVs) have been mentioned that are good sources of non-heme iron. This is in spite of the fact that all the foodstuffs in these groups are not uniformly iron rich. Among cereals and pulses, rice and red gram dal (arhar) are the most commonly produced and consumed, though they have the lowest iron content. Spinach and mustard leaves believed to be iron rich and commonly consumed are among those GLVs having lowest iron content. Conclusion: Details of 5–10 foodstuffs which have the highest iron content within each food group should be available in relevant books and documents meant for education, production, and consumption data.

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