An Assessment of the Iron Intakes in Female University Students
(2015) An Assessment of the Iron Intakes in Female University Students, no. 32.
Background: The identification of the iron status of a population is key in determining the risk of iron deficiency anaemia and other consequential health problems associated with low iron intakes. Iron is an important mineral within the body and is predominantly vital for the transportation of oxygen around the body, as well as ensuring normal cellular function within the body. Objective: The aim of the present study was to measure the iron intake of female university students through the use of four-day diet diaries, to gain a better knowledge of the iron intakes of Scottish female students. The objectives included comparing the iron intakes to the dietary reference values, to assess if the participants were consuming sufficient iron, and to compare the results with the current finding of The National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Method: Twelve female students of Queen Margaret University took part in the present study by completing an estimated diet diary over a period of four days, including one weekend day. Analysis of these diaries was carried out using NetWISP, which provided the average daily iron intakes for each individual. The group's average daily iron intakes were compared to the established dietary reference values as well as the findings of the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey, using SPSS. Results: The average daily iron intake for the subjects (n=12) was 11.8±3.6mg/day, which was found to be significantly below the recommended nutrient intake of 14.8mg (p<0.05). Only 25% of the participants were found to have intakes above this recommendation. Furthermore, 25% of the subjects had intakes on or below the lower recommended nutrient intake of 8.0mg/day. The average daily intakes were found to be significantly higher than those reported by The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (p<0.05). Conclusion: The findings of the present study highlight that the iron intakes of female university students are lower than the recommended values and provide evidence that action has to be taken to prevent iron deficiency and other consequential health problems occurring. Iron intakes within the present study were significantly higher than those of the NDNS RP Further research, with a larger sample size, is required to establish a more representative picture of the iron status of the population. Key words: Iron, Female University Students, Dietary Intake, Diet Diary, DRV, NDNS RP