Racial differences have been reported in hemoglobin (Hb). However, distributions of Hb and anemia rate in ethnic minorities were rarely reported.
We aimed to observe whether there are ethnic differences in Hb distributions and prevalence of anemia.
The data included 480,699 women 20 to 49 years’ old from 10 ethnic minorities in China in 2014. Analyses of variance were used to examine the differences of Hb distribution among the 10 ethnic groups, as well as the differences in Hb level between different ages, education levels, occupations, and non- or ethnic enclaves in each ethnic group. χ2-test was adopted to analyze the differences in anemia rate among the 10 ethnic groups and between different ages and nonethnic or ethnic enclaves in each ethnic group.
The ethnic differences of the Hb distribution and anemia prevalence were observed in the 10 ethnic groups. The lowest mean Hb concentration was shown in Chuang (126.8 g/L), and the highest mean Hb concentration was in Tibetan (138.5 g/L). According to the World Health Organization criteria to define anemia, the highest prevalence was in Tibetan (46.9%) after the adjustment of Hb concentration for altitude, and the lowest prevalence was in Yi (10.6%). Furthermore, there were differences on mean Hb concentration or anemia rate in participants between ethnic enclaves and non-ethnic enclaves in most ethnic groups.
The ethnic differences of the Hb distribution and anemia prevalence were observed in the 10 ethnic groups, which might be associated with geographic conditions, genetic background, and eating habits.