Anemia among Muslim Bedouin and Jewish women of childbearing age in Southern Israel

Yulia Treister-Goltzman, Roni Peleg, Aya Biderman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    There are inequalities in health indicators among different ethnic groups living in the same region and receiving the same medical services. Anemia is a global problem. Although the prevalence of anemia is not high in Israel, differences among ethnic groups have not been studied. Our objective was to assess anemia among Bedouin and Jewish women of childbearing age in southern Israel. A retrospective observational study was conducted based on data from computerized medical records. Seven thousand eight hundred seventy-one women in the study clinics underwent complete blood counts and had blood hemoglobin levels of 11 g/dl or below. The Jewish patients were older (31.7 vs. 29.7 years, P < 0.001), practiced birth control more (24.2 vs. 9.9 %, P < 0.001), and adhered to it more (81.1 vs. 61.9 %, P < 0.001). Bedouin women had more children (3.7 vs. 1.9, P < 0.001), and more Bedouin women were pregnant during the study period (49.3 vs. 35.0 %, P < 0.001). The most prevalent types of anemia were iron deficiency and anemia of chronic disease. Two types of anemia were proportionally higher among Jewish women, anemia of chronic disease (18.1 vs. 9.7 %, P < 0.001) and folic acid deficiency (3.3 vs. 2.2 %, P > 0.001). The adherence rates for treatment were very low. Three factors associated with severe anemia (hemoglobin below 8 g/dl) were being Bedouin (odds ratio (OR) = 1.295, P < 0.001), use of birth control (OR = 0.419, P < 0.001), and pregnancy (OR = 0.447, P < 0.001). Being a Bedouin woman is a risk factor for severe anemia, and adherence to treatment for anemia is very low in both groups. These findings should be addressed in a national program to reduce health inequalities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1777-1784
    Number of pages8
    JournalAnnals of Hematology
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - 22 Nov 2015


    • Anemia
    • Anemia of chronic disease
    • Bedouin
    • Compliance
    • Ethnicity
    • Iron deficiency
    • Jew


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