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February 1990

Current Trends CDC Criteria for Anemia in Children and Childbearing-Aged Women

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(2):151-152. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150260029019

HEMOGLOBIN (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct) measurements are the laboratory tests used most commonly in clinical and public health settings for screening for anemia. Because most anemia in children and women of childbearing age is related to iron deficiency,1 the main purpose of anemia screening is to detect those persons at increased risk for iron deficiency. Proper anemia screening requires not only sound laboratory methods and procedures but also appropriate Hb and Hct cutoff values to define anemia. The "normal" ranges of Hb and Hct change throughout childhood and during pregnancy, and are higher for men than women.1,2 Thus, criteria for anemia should be specific for age, sex, and stage of pregnancy. Current major reference criteria for anemia, however, are not based on representative samples and fail to take into account the normal hematologic changes occurring during pregnancy. To address these limitations, CDC has formulated new reference criteria for

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