Journal of Community Health

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 780–789 | Cite as

Decreased Anemia Prevalence Among Women and Children in Rural Baja California, Mexico: A 6-Year Comparative Study

  • Molly A. Moor
  • Miguel A. Fraga
  • Richard S. Garfein
  • Judith Harbertson
  • Alfonso Rodriguez-Lainz
  • Hooman H. Rashidi
  • John P. Elder
  • Stephanie K. Brodine
Original Paper


Anemia is a public health problem in Mexico. This study sought to determine the prevalence and correlates of anemia among women and children residing in a rural farming region of Baja California, Mexico. An existing partnership between universities, non-governmental organizations, and an underserved Mexican community was utilized to perform cross-sectional data collection in 2004–2005 (Wave 1) and in 2011–2012 (Wave 2) among women (15–49 years) and their children (6–59 months). All participants completed a survey and underwent anemia testing. Blood smears were obtained to identify etiology. Nutrition education interventions and clinical health evaluations were offered between waves. Participants included 201 women and 99 children in Wave 1, and 146 women and 77 children in Wave 2. Prevalence of anemia significantly decreased from 42.3 to 23.3 % between Waves 1 and 2 in women (p < 0.001), from 46.5 to 30.2 % in children 24–59 months (p = 0.066), and from 71.4 to 45.8 % in children 6–23 months (p = 0.061). Among women in Wave 1, consumption of iron absorption enhancing foods (green vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C) was protective against anemia (p = 0.043). Women in Wave 2 who ate ≥4 servings of green, leafy vegetables per week were less likely to be anemic (p = 0.034). Microscopic examination of blood smears revealed microcytic, hypochromic red blood cells in 90 % of anemic children and 68.8 % of anemic women, consistent with iron deficiency anemia.


Anemia Women Children Mexico Public health 



The authors wish to thank the VIIDAI faculty, students, and staff for their assistance in conducting this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly A. Moor
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel A. Fraga
    • 3
  • Richard S. Garfein
    • 4
  • Judith Harbertson
    • 1
  • Alfonso Rodriguez-Lainz
    • 1
  • Hooman H. Rashidi
    • 5
    • 6
  • John P. Elder
    • 7
  • Stephanie K. Brodine
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public HealthSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.School of Medicine and PsychologyUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuanaMexico
  4. 4.Division of Global Public Health, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pathology, School of MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California, DavisSacramentoUSA
  7. 7.Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Public HealthSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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