Skip to main content

Prevalence of Anemia among Healthy Women in 2 Metropolitan Areas of Japan


Anemia is common among young women, and iron deficiency is one of the leading causes. In Europe and the US, the iron fortification of flour increased oral iron intake and decreased anemia prevalence from 30% to 10%. The National Nutrition Survey in Japan revealed that anemia prevalence among young Japanese women is increasing; however, no nationwide preventive policy has been aimed at iron deficiency anemia. The endpoint of this study was the estimation of anemia prevalence among healthy Japanese woman, based on a large sample size. We collected data from the consecutive check-up examination records of apparently healthy women (n = 13,147). We defined hemoglobin lower than 12 g/dL as anemia, hemoglobin lower than 10 g/dL as severe anemia, and a mean corpuscular volume lower than 80 fl as microcytic anemia. Of the 13,147 persons, anemia was identified in 2331 (17.3 %), and severe and microcytic anemia in 438 (3.3 %) and 700 (5.2 %), respectively. Among women younger than 50 years, anemia was identified in 22.3 %, and 25.2 % of them had severe anemia. In conclusion, the prevalence of anemia and severe anemia among young women is high in Japan. Some action needs to be considered to improve women’s quality of life.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Looker AC, Dallman PR, Carroll MD, Gunter EW, Johnson CL. Prevalence of iron deficiency in the United States. JAMA. 1997; 277(12):973–976.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Uchida T, Kawachi Y, Sakamoto Y, et al. Prevalence and patho-genesis of iron deficiency in Japanese women (1981-1991). Rinsho Ketsueki. 1992;33(11):1661–1665.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Maeda M, Yamamoto M, Yamauchi K. Prevalence of anemia in Japanese adolescents: 30 years’ experience in screening for anemia. Int J Hematol. 1999;69(2):75–80.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. National Nutrition Survey in Japan. kenkou/eiyou-chosa2-01/index.html.

  5. Malhotra P, Kumari S, Kumar R, Varma S. Prevalence of anemia in adult rural population of north India. J Assoc Physicians India. 2004;52:18–20.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Mehta BC. Iron deficiency amongst nursing students. Indian J Med Sci. 2004;58(9):389–393.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Uchida T, Yoshida M, Sakai K, et al. Prevalence of iron deficiency in Japanese women. Nippon Ketsueki Gakkai Zasshi. 1988;51(1):24–27.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Artz AS, Fergusson D, Drinka PJ, et al. Mechanisms of unexplained anemia in the nursing home. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004;52(3):423–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ioannou GN, Rockey DC, Bryson CL, Weiss NS. Iron deficiency and gastrointestinal malignancy: a population-based cohort study. Am J Med. 2002;113(4):276–280.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Guralnik JM, Eisenstaedt RS, Ferrucci L, Klein HG, Woodman RC. Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia. Blood. 2004;104(8):2263–2268.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Midori Shoji.

About this article

Cite this article

Kusumi, E., Shoji, M., Endou, S. et al. Prevalence of Anemia among Healthy Women in 2 Metropolitan Areas of Japan. Int J Hematol 84, 217–219 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • Iron deficiency
  • Erythropoietin
  • Hematological abnormalities
  • Hemoglobin
  • Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Anemia in the elderly
  • Women’s health
  • Iron fortification