Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Anemia prevalence increased among pregnant WIC participants. From 2008 to 2018, there was a 13% increase in anemia prevalence among pregnant women enrolled in WIC, from 10.1% to 11.4%.
  2. Significant racial disparities in anemia prevalence. In 2018, non-Hispanic Black or African American pregnant women experienced higher anemia prevalence overall and particularly during the third trimester, indicating a moderate public health problem.
  3. Varied anemia prevalence by WIC agency and trimester. Anemia prevalence increased in approximately half of the WIC agencies and was higher among women assessed during their third trimester of pregnancy.
  4. Support for early WIC enrollment and access to iron-rich foods. Findings highlight the importance of ensuring low-income pregnant women have access to healthier, iron-rich foods and are enrolled in WIC early during pregnancy.
  5. Anemia remains a public health challenge among low-income women. The study underscores ongoing public health concerns regarding anemia among pregnant women with low income, reinforcing the need for targeted interventions.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Florence A. Kanu,

Suggested Citation

Kanu FA, Hamner HC, Scanlon KS, Sharma AJ. Anemia Among Pregnant Women Participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — United States, 2008–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:813–819. DOI:


This MMWR article reports a 13% increase in anemia prevalence among pregnant WIC participants from 2008 to 2018. It highlights significant racial disparities, with non-Hispanic Black or African American women showing higher anemia prevalence. The study emphasizes the importance of early WIC enrollment and access to iron-rich foods for low-income pregnant women.


The study analyzed 2008–2018 WIC Participant and Program Characteristics data, focusing on anemia prevalence among pregnant participants at enrollment. Prevalence was adjusted for factors such as age, race, and pregnancy trimester using log binomial regression and linear trends analysis.


Anemia among pregnant WIC participants increased significantly in approximately half of the agencies, with racial disparities evident. The report calls for improved public health strategies to ensure access to nutritious foods and early WIC enrollment for eligible pregnant women.


The increasing prevalence of anemia among pregnant WIC participants, especially among non-Hispanic Black or African American women, presents an ongoing public health challenge. The findings support efforts to enhance WIC services and access to healthier, iron-rich foods to address this issue.

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