Background: Iron deficiency anemia affects a large number of women in developing countries, especially during childbearing years. Few studies have determined the association between estimated absorbable iron intakes and iron deficiency. Methods: The association between dietary iron intake and iron status was studied in 100 adolescent girls aged 14-16 years from Benin. Fifty adolescents were boarding at the school, while 50 lived at home. Biochemical indices of iron status included hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean cell volume, mean cell hemoglobin concentration, serum iron, total iron-binding capacity and % transferrin saturation. Dietary intakes were obtained by two 24-hours recalls and absorbable iron intakes were estimated using Monsen's model. The probability approach was used to estimate inadequacy in iron intake. Results: While 73% of adolescents met the recommendations for dietary iron intake, only 27% had estimated absorbable iron intake above the average requirement for absorbed iron. Non-heme iron represented 97.2% of the total iron intake. Forty-three percent of subjects were anemic (hemoglobin < 120 g/l). Iron deficiency defined by a four-model index based on two or more abnormal values in the four independent indicators of iron status used (serum iron, total iron-binding capacity, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) was present in 14% of the subjects, while 13% had iron deficiency anemia (hemoglobin < 120 g/l + four-model index). Using a multiple regression analysis, total absorbable iron intakes (including iron supplements) were highly and positively associated with hemoglobin and hematocrit concentrations (P = 0.000001 and P = 0.00007, respectively). Conclusion: In this group of adolescents, total absorbable iron intakes were related to iron deficiency. Efforts should be made to increase the heme iron content of the diet and the bioavailability of non-heme iron by promoting affordable local foods rich in iron and promoters of iron absorption (vitamin C and meat, poultry and fish factor).
- Absorbable iron
- Boarding school
- Iron deficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health