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BACKGROUND: Anemia is a common disease which affects around 40% of children and 30% of reproductive age women and can have major health consequences. The present study reports the global, regional and national burden of anemia and its underlying causes between 1990 and 2019, by age, sex and socio-demographic index (SDI). METHODS: Publicly available data on the point prevalence and years lived with disability (YLDs) were retrieved from the global burden of disease (GBD) 2019 study for 204 countries and territories between 1990 and 2019. The point prevalence, YLD counts and rates per 100,000 population were presented, along with their corresponding 95% uncertainty intervals. RESULTS: In 2019, the global age-standardized point prevalence and YLD rates for anemia were 23,176.2 (22,943.5-23,418.6) and 672.4 (447.2-981.5) per 100,000 population, respectively. Moreover, the global age-standardized point prevalence and YLD rate decreased by 13.4% (12.1-14.5%) and 18.8% (16.9-20.8%), respectively, over the period 1990-2019. The highest national point prevalences of anemia were found in Zambia [49327.1 (95% UI: 46,838.5-51,700.1)], Mali [46890.1 (95% UI: 44,301.1-49,389.8)], and Burkina Faso [46117.2 (95% UI: 43,640.7-48,319.2)]. In 2019, the global point prevalence of anemia was highest in the 15-19 and 95+ age groups in females and males, respectively. Also, the burden of anemia was lower in regions with higher socio-economic development. Globally, most of the prevalent cases were attributable to dietary iron deficiency, as well as hemoglobinopathies and hemolytic anemias. CONCLUSIONS: Anemia remains a major health problem, especially among females in less developed countries. The implementation of preventive programs with a focus on improving access to iron supplements, early diagnosis and the treatment of hemoglobinopathies should be taken into consideration.

Original publication




Journal article


J hematol oncol

Publication Date





Anemia, Epidemiology, Global burden of disease, Prevalence, Years lived with disability