Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS)

Haemoglobin concentrations for the diagnosis of anaemia and assessment of severity

World Health Organization

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 6
Publication date: 2011
Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
WHO reference number: WHO/NMH/NHD/MNM/11.1



This document aims to provide users of the Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS) with information about the use of haemoglobin concentration for diagnosing anaemia. It is a compilation of current World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on the topic and summarizes the cut-offs for defining anaemia and its severity at the population level, as well as the chronology of their establishment.

The use of the cut-off points derived from the referenced publications permits the identification of populations at greatest risk of anaemia and priority areas for action, especially when resources are limited. They also facilitate the monitoring and assessment of progress towards international goals of preventing and controlling iron deficiency and further provide the basis for advocacy for the prevention of anaemia.