Livestock ownership and anaemia in Sub-Saharan African households

Yubraj Acharya, Di Yang, Andrew D. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the association between livestock ownership and Hb concentration of women of child-bearing age (WCBA) and preschool-aged children in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Design: A prospective analysis of publicly available cross-sectional data, using linear and logistic regressions controlling for potential confounders. Setting: Twenty-eight countries in SSA. Participants: 162 305 WCBA and 118 607 children aged 6-59 months. Results: More than half of WCBA (62·5 %) and children (58 %) belonged to households that owned livestock. The average altitude-adjusted blood Hb concentration for WCBA and children was 12.23 and 10·24 g/dL, respectively. In adjusted models, higher number of livestock owned was associated with lower Hb concentration for children but not for WCBA. The magnitude of the association for children was small, with one additional unit of livestock owned reducing Hb concentration by 0·001 g/dL. Higher numbers of cattle, cows and bulls, sheep, and goats were associated with lower Hb concentration for both groups. The number of certain categories of livestock owned was associated with the consumption of relevant foods by children. There was no association between the consumption of animal-source foods and Hb concentration or between livestock ownership and diarrhoeal diseases or fever among children. Conclusions: Livestock ownership in SSA had a net negative association with the Hb concentration of children and no association with that of WCBA. The results highlight the need for research aimed at clarifying the mechanisms linking livestock ownership and nutritional status, and identifying entry points for leveraging livestock ownership to improve the health of women and children in SSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3709
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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