Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Health Indicator Report of Low hemoglobin levels in WIC women participants

Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. A low hemoglobin level is an indicator of a health condition called anemia. Anemia occurs when there are lower amounts of red blood cells in the body. It can be caused by blood loss, iron deficiency, kidney failure, or cancer. Iron deficiency is the most common cause. Iron-deficiency anemia is more prevalent in women than men, with increased occurrence during pregnancy. Mild to moderate iron-deficiency anemia may go unnoticed if an individual does not present common signs or symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, or chest pain. If iron-deficiency anemia goes untreated, complications may include heart problems, increased susceptibility to illness and infections, and a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as preterm birth or low birth weight.

Percentage of WIC women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding with low hemoglobin levels, Utah vs. U.S., 2010-2022

Data Sources

  • VISION computer system, Utah Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, Division of Family Health and Preparedness, Utah Department of Health
  • WIC PC - WIC Participant and Program Characteristics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Data Interpretation Issues

Beginning in 2010, national data are from USDA's WIC Program and Participant Characteristic Survey, which is released every 2 years. Utah data, beginning in 2011, are from the WIC computer system VISION, created by Ciber. From 2020-2022, the COVID-19 pandemic caused FNS to provide WIC clinics waivers for in-person visits, making accurate data collection for hemoglobin levels difficult. This may have contributed to the fluctuation in low hemoglobin prevalence during these years.


Definitions used in this Indicator Report follow the current USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program definitions which are as follows: '''Low Hemoglobin Levels''': Hemoglobin concentration below the 95 percent confidence interval (i.e. below the .025 percentile) for healthy, well-nourished individuals of the same age, sex, and stage of pregnancy.


__2010-Current:__ The number of pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women receiving WIC services who had '''low hemoglobin levels''' (see definition).


__2010-Current:__ The number of pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women receiving WIC services.

Healthy People Objective NWS-21.3:

Reduce iron deficiency among females aged 12 to 49 years
U.S. Target: 9.4 percent

How Are We Doing?

Nationwide, rates of anemia have been steadily increasing among the WIC population for several years. African American women are more likely to experience iron deficiency and low hemoglobin levels than other races/ethnicities are.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Utah has consistently had low hemoglobin rates below the national average, and that trend continues. Despite an upward trend in hemoglobin values from 2013-2019, there was a significant drop in low hemoglobin in 2020 with a value of 8%, which met the Healthy People 2030 target. However, in 2021, low hemoglobin values increased to 12%, which is above the Healthy People 2030 target of 9.4% We hope to continue making progress in lowering the prevalence of low hemoglobin levels among this population in the future.

What Is Being Done?

Iron deficiency anemia is treated primarily through increased oral intake of iron via supplements and through high iron foods. Tips for treating iron-deficiency anemia include: *Taking an iron supplement or a multivitamin that contains iron. *Eating high-iron foods such as meat, chicken, dark leafy green vegetables, and beans. *Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as fruits, vegetables, and 100% fruit juice. *Consuming dairy products at different times of day than when consuming iron supplements or high iron foods.

Health Program Information

Utah WIC Program: 1-877-WIC-KIDS []
Page Content Updated On 10/17/2022, Published on 10/17/2022
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sun, 10 December 2023 0:46:06 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Mon, 17 Oct 2022 15:38:37 MDT