Iron status of adolescent girls from two boarding schools in southern Benin

Halimatou Alaofè, John Zee, Romain Dossa, Huguette Turgeon O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Iron deficiency (ID) is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency in the world, particularly in developing countries. Blood samples and a qualitative FFQ on Fe- and vitamin C-rich foods were obtained in 180 adolescent girls aged 12 to 17 years living in two boarding schools from south Benin. ID, defined as serum ferritin either <20μg/l or 20-50μg/l, plus two of the following parameters: serum Fe<11μmol/l, total iron-binding capacity>73μmol/l or transferrin saturation<20%, was found in 32% of subjects. Anaemia (Hb<120g/l) was found in 51% of adolescents, while 24% suffered from iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) (ID and Hb<20g/l). After adjusting for confounding factors (age, mother's and father's occupation, household size) in a logistic regression equation, subjects having a low meat consumption (beef, mutton, pork) (<4 times/week) were more than twice as likely to suffer from ID (OR=2.43; 95% CI 1.72, 3.35; P=0.04). Adolescents consuming less fruits (<4 times/week) also had a higher likelihood of suffering from ID (OR=1.53; 95% CI 1.31, 2.80; P=0.03). Finally, subjects whose meat consumption was low were twice as likely to suffer from IDA (OR=2.24; 95% CI 1.01, 4.96; P=0.04). The prevalence of ID represents an important health problem in these Beninese adolescent girls. A higher consumption of Fe-rich foods and of promoters of Fe absorption (meat factor and vitamin C) is recommended to prevent ID deficiency in these subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-746
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Benin
  • Boarding schools
  • Food consumption
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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