An Assessment of Iron Intake in Adolescent Females
(2015) An Assessment of Iron Intake in Adolescent Females, no. 33.
Background: Iron is an essential nutrient in the human body that is required for a number of essential and routine physiological functions. A poor iron intake can result in a number of detrimental effects. The recently published 2014 National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Program (NDNS RP) for Scotland indicated that Scottish adolescent females have a poor intake of iron and are at risk of iron deficiency, further complications and detrimental effects. Objective: This study aimed to add depth to the growing knowledge of iron intakes in Scottish adolescent females. The study assessed the average daily dietary iron intake of adolescent females between the ages of 17-18 and compared intakes against dietary reference values. The study also compared participant intakes with the wider cohort of 11-18 year old females reported in the NDNS RP for Scotland to assess if there were any significant differences in the upper age group of 17-18 year old females assessed in this study. Method: A four day diet diary was utilised to assess participant intakes. Intakes were then analysed on computer nutritional analysis software, WISP. Results: Participant (n=12) average daily intake was analysed to be 11.17mg/day. The participant group included one vegetarian and two iron supplement consumers. Participant iron intakes were significantly below the RNI (p=0.002) and three participants recorded intakes below the LRNI. Furthermore, iron intakes of supplement users were significantly higher (p=0.031) than non-supplement users. This groups intake was significantly higher (p=0.005) compared to the wider cohort of 11-18 year old females reported in the NDNS RP for Scotland. Conclusion: The current study indicates that Scottish females aged 17-18 are at risk of iron deficiency with an average intake below the EAR and significantly below the RNI. Furthermore three participants recorded intakes below the LRNI indicating a high risk of iron deficiency. Intakes of this upper age group of adolescent females appear to be significantly higher than that of the wider age group recorded in the NDNS RP Scotland indicating lesser risk of iron deficiency in older adolescent females. Larger studies are needed as this small sample size may not be representative of the wider population. Key words: Iron, Adolescent females, Diet Diary, Dietary intake, DRV, NDNS RP for Scotland