To assess the relationship between prevalence of anemia and dietary pearl millet consumption patterns.
A cross-sectional, 30-cluster sampling design covering 1077 rural women (20-45y), from Banaskantha District of Gujarat State, Western India. Data on SES, Dietary intakes (24HrM, FFQ), Hemoglobin (Hb), serum ferretin (SF), serum transferin receptor(STfR), C- Reactive protein (CRP) and Alpha-glycoprotein (AGP) were collected using standard protocols following Institutional ethical clearance and informed consent.
Anemia (94.5%) with a mean Hb of 9.95g/dl (51.9%, mild; 45.56% moderate), with no infections based on AGP and CRP values was observed. Millet consumption ranged from 100-300g/day, in the form of rotla, ghes, khichadi, sukhadi and kuler, though total iron consumption exceeded 100% RDA, negative correlation between dietary iron intakes and Hb (p<0.05) was observed. A stepwise regression analysis model to predict dietary iron consumption and the biochemical parameters predicts only 1% variance of ferritin with F (1,354). = 4.00, p<0.05 (R square change = .011), wherein only Hb values contributed to the explanation of the variance as shown by the beta value (-0.106) at 95% CI (-1.754 to -0.014) indicating that dietary iron alone intake was not the key factor for the etiology of anemia.
High prevalence of anemia and low dietary iron availability from millet calls for urgent attention and the ongoing public health measures need to be strengthened (IFA, NHE, dietary modification and provision of biofortified iron rich millet can also be explored). Total body stores also need to be assessed to identify actual causes of anemia (pernicious, meghaloblastic, thallesemia, sickle cell etc).