Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Anemia in women of reproductive age is highly prevalent globally and remains a public health problem. In Ethiopia, despite efforts to minimize the burden of anemia, it is still a moderate public health problem. Anemia has various etiologies including nutritional deficiency, parasitic infection, and inflammation. The aim of this study was to examine contributing factors to anemia in lactating women. Following ethical approval, and six months after delivery, all lactating women (n = 150) were recruited to participate in this study from eight randomly selected rural villages. Anthropometric and socio-economic factors were assessed. From each, a blood sample was collected for measuring hemoglobin, iron biomarkers, zinc, selenium, and inflammation markers. The median (IQR) hemoglobin (Hb) was 132 (123, 139) g/L. Of the women, 19% were anemic and 7% had iron deficiency anemia; 31% were iron deficient and 2% had iron overload. Also, 8% had functional iron deficit, 6% had acute inflammation, 13% had chronic inflammation, and 16% had tissue iron deficiency. The majority (78%) of the women had low plasma zinc out of which more than 16% were anemic. Hb was positively associated with plasma iron and plasma zinc and negatively associated with transferrin receptor (TfR) and α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). Plasma iron, AGP, TfR, hepcidin and plasma zinc were significant predictors of maternal anemia. Additionally MUAC and level of education were associated positively with maternal hemoglobin. This study showed that maternal anemia was associated with multiple factors including nutritional deficiencies, inflammation and limited education.


This article was originally published Open Access in PLOS One. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


© 2020 Gebreegziabher et al.