Assessing Iron intake in female University Students
(2015) Assessing Iron intake in female University Students, no. 32.
Background: Iron is a natural mineral that is found in many foods, as well as being added to foods by fortification. Iron intake can be obtained from cereal/cereal products, meat/meat products, vegetables and iron supplements. Young women are at increased risk of iron deficiency due to the loss of blood during menstruation, an inadequate dietary intake or reduced dietary availability of iron and impaired absorption. Objective: To assess iron intake in female university students and compare to the Dietary Reference Values and National Diet Nutritional Survey. Additionally, to make recommendations based on the findings how students could improve their iron intake. Design: This study involved 12 female students, aged 18 to 30, who are studying at Queen Margaret University. Anthropometrics measures were carried out, and a four-day diet diary was used to collect dietary information. The data was analysed through WISP software and compared to Dietary Reference Values and National Diet Nutritional Survey. The Basal Metabolic Rate was collected through the Henry Equation for analysing participants who were under-reporting with the Goldberg Cut-off Point. Results: The mean daily iron intakes for the female students (n=12, BMI: 22.8±3.3 Kg/m2) were below the recommended level which was 9.7±3.4mg. Iron intake (9.7mg) was significantly lower than the Reference Nutrient Intake (14.8mg, p<0.05). The results were similar to NDNS report with mean iron intake of 9.6±3.4mg. 30% of students were below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake. Only 20% of them met the Reference Nutrient Intake for mean iron intake. The mean total energy intake of students was 1269.3±349.5kcal which was significantly (p<0.00) lower than mean basal Metabolic rate 1701±91.1kcal. Under-reporting was noted for all the participants. Conclusion: The iron intake of female university was below the LRNI by 30%. All students consumed less than five portions of fruit and vegetable, averaging at most two portions of fruit and vegetables. Key words: iron intake, Iron Deficiency, Female University Students, Under-reporting,