Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) continues to be a major public health problem in developing countries and lactating women are among those at great risk. This study was undertaken to determine some of the factors that predispose lactating women to IDA. A total of 1648 lactating women who were less than six months postpartum (1092 in the Owerri urban area and 556 in the rural areas surrounding Owerri) were recruited for the study. IDA was assessed by measuring haemoglobin (Hb) and the women were considered anaemic for Hb less than 11g/dl according to World Health Organization Standards. Semi structured questionnaires were used to elicit information on possible predisposing factors such as age, level of education, parity, childspacing etc. Results obtained showed that with respect to the effect of age, the younger age category (24 years and below) had significantly (P<0.0104) lower mean Hb and significantly (P<0.0233) higher percentage of anaemia while the effect of level of education showed that the less educated (no formal education and primary education) had significantly (P<0.0111) lower mean Hb and significantly (P<0.0230) higher proportion of anaemia. The lactating women with child spacing of less than 1year and 1-1.5years had significantly (P<0.0330) lower mean Hb and higher proportion of anaemia while parity did not show any significant effect on both mean Hb and prevalence of anaemia. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations made on how to tackle the problem.
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