Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folate intakes of female University students.
(2017) Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folate intakes of female University students., no. 34.
Young women are at an increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies, particularly due to higher micronutrient requirements during childbearing age and multiple food group avoidances. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of inadequate dietary iron, folate and vitamin B12 intake among female university students. Female Queen Margaret University Students (n=25; age range 19-41 year; Body Mass Index 22.5±2.2kg/m2; mean ± SD) were recruited to participate in a cross-sectional study. Estimated 4-day diet diaries were obtained from participants and were analysed using the dietary analysis software NetWisp. The nutrients of interest were each individual average iron, folate and vitamin B12 over the 4 days. Results showed a high prevalence of poor iron intake, a sufficient folate intake and the presence of high vitamin B12 intake compared to the DRVs. The students' food records indicated that: the average daily iron intake of 10.9±6.1 mg/day is significantly lower than the UK RNI of 14.8mg/day (p<0.05), no significant difference was observed between the average daily folate intake of 178 ± 84μg/day and the UK RNI of 200μg/day (p>0.05) and the average daily vitamin B12 intake of 2.7±1.7μg/day is significantly higher than the UK RNI of 1.5μg/day (p<0.05). However, the results from the present study show an optimal iron intake and inadequate intakes of folate and vitamin B12 compared to the latest NDNS data. The students' food records indicated that: no significant difference was observed between iron average intake and the NDNS results of 9.4±3.1mg/day (p>0.05), the average folate intake is significantly lower than the NDNS results of 215±82μg/day (p<0.05) and the average daily vitamin B12 intake is significantly lower that the NDNS results of 4.6±3.2μg/day. Micronutrient deficiency of iron (76%) and apparent excess of vitamin B12 (84%) is present in educated UK female students of childbearing age, including those who study nutrition. Therefore, promoting healthy eating among young adults is crucial to achieve a healthy nutritional status. Key words: Dietary intake, 4-day diet diaries, university students, iron, folate, vitamin B12.