Anemia and Its Associated Factors among Haramaya and Dire Dawa University Students, Eastern Ethiopia
Background: Anemia is a global public health problem affecting about one-fourth of the world’s population. It has adverse social, economic and health consequences, and affected people of different age groups. University students are among the classified under vulnerable groups that suffer from anemia. However, studies on anemia among university students are limited. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the magnitude of anemia and its associated factors among the students at Haramaya and Dire Dawa Universities in eastern Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from January to February, 2017 on 895 regular university students who were selected using multistage sampling techniques from the two universities. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect data using self administered techniques and interview. Blood and stool sample from each participant was collected and investigated following standard procedures. The data were coded and entered into EpiData Version 3.1 and exported to STAT Version 14.2 for analysis. Descriptive statistics and regression model were used to analyze the data. Results: The magnitude of anemia among university students was 20.6% (95% CI: 18.0, 23.3%). Being female (AOR=2.3; 95% CI:1.6, 3.5), five or fewer serving of fruits and vegetables per week (AOR=1.9; 95% CI: 1.3, 2.9), once or less consumption of egg per week (AOR=1.6; 95% CI: 1.1, 2.3), three and less than three servings of meat per week (AOR=2.1; 95% CI: 1.1, 4.2), chewing khat four or more times per week (AOR=2.7; 95% CI: 1.1, 8.3), and consuming tea once a day (AOR=1.9; 95% CI: 1.2, 3.1) were significantly associated with the occurrences of anemia. Conclusion: Anemia was moderate public health problem among Haramaya and Dire Dawa university students. Frequency of vegetable/fruit, egg, and meat consumption and being female were important factors associated with anemia. Thus, focused nutritional intervention such as promoting the use of meats, egg and fruit especially among female students and reduction of Khat chewing practices should be considered to reduce the problem.
Keywords: Anemia; Dire Dawa; Eastern Ethiopia; Haramaya; Hemoglobin