Iron intake among female undergraduate students of Queen Margaret University: a cross-sectional study
(2015) Iron intake among female undergraduate students of Queen Margaret University: a cross-sectional study, no. 31.
Background: The negative impacts of iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) resulting from low iron intake are enormous especially among women in reproductive age. The World Health Organization (2015) reported that iron deficiency secondary to low iron intake is one of the most common nutritional deficiency diseases globally. The national diet and nutrition survey (NDNS) report (2012) indicated that the average daily intakes of iron from food sources is only 78% of reference nutrient intake, in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2011, an estimated 15% of the women population in UK were said to be anaemic, mostly due to inadequate iron consumption (FPRI 2014). The need to investigate the iron intakes of female students, particularly at tertiary level is therefore compelling. Objective: The project sought to determine iron intake among sampled female students of the Queen Margaret University (QMU), aged between 19-64 years. Methods/materials: This is a cross-sectional study where an initial sample size of 20 female students was envisaged to fill in daily diet diaries (DDDs) but only 12 participants completed the four day DDDs (the main instrument of data collection). Reference values based on the National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS) (2012) and DRV values. Results: The average age of the respondents was 23.7 with 50% of them being Pakistanis. The average body mass index was 22.8; 66.7% of the students recorded iron intake above the LRNI reference 8mg/day and 50% recorded iron intake above the 9.6mg/day average reported in the NDNS (2012). Conclusions: The results of this study on iron intake among women aged 19-64 did not significantly differ from the national benchmark NDNS, albeit iron intake are not optimum especially in comparison with males. These observations imply iron intake remains a national health concern for nutrition experts and health authorities. Intensified and more innovative interventions aimed at nutrition education and behaviour modification are important to help improve the status quo. Key words: iron intake, iron deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia, females, university students