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Relationship between socioeconomic status and anemia prevalence in adolescent girls based on the fourth and fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys



We studied the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES), represented by household income, and the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) among adolescent girls in Korea.


The samples were based on the data from a four-year (2008–2011) collection for the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1312 girls, age 10–18 years). The survey included demographic, anthropometric, biochemical and nutritional parameters. A multiple regression analysis after adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), red blood cell count, white blood cell count and red meat intake was performed. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin level lower than 11.5 g/dl for ages 10–11 years and 12.0 g/dl for ages 12–14 years. Iron deficiency was defined as serum ferritin level below 15 μg/l.


The prevalences of anemia and IDA in Korean girls were 5.3 and 4.2%, respectively. Girls with anemia were older, taller, weighed more, had higher BMI, had higher portion of menarche experience and consumed less red meat than girls without anemia. Girls with higher income had lower anemia prevalence and consumed more iron and vitamins. Logistic regression analysis showed a decreasing trend in anemia prevalence as household income increased. Correlation analysis demonstrated that there is a relationship between household income and serum hemoglobin and ferritin levels (P=0.003 and P=0.026, respectively).


Higher SES leads to lower prevalence of anemia and IDA in Korean adolescent girls. This may be due to the fact that higher SES individuals consume more iron and vitamin C.

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Correspondence to B-J Ko.

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JY Kim, KC Lee and BJ Ko designed the study; JH Kim, GE Nam, HD Yeo, HG Lee and K Han collected data; S Shin and K Han analyzed the data; JY Kim and BJ Ko wrote the manuscript; YS Choi and DH Kim provided significant advice and contributed to the discussion.

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Kim, J., Shin, S., Han, K. et al. Relationship between socioeconomic status and anemia prevalence in adolescent girls based on the fourth and fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 253–258 (2014).

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  • social class
  • income
  • anemia
  • iron deficiency anemia
  • nutrition status
  • nutrition surveys

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