Evaluation of iron status in European adolescents through biochemical iron indicators: the HELENA Study
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AuthorFerrari, M.; Mistura, L.; Patterson, E.; Sjöström, Michael; Díaz, L. E.; Stehle, P.; González Gross, Marcela; Kersting, Mathilde; Widhalm, Kurt; Molnar, Dénes; Gottrand, Frederic; Henauw, Stefaan de; Manios, Yannis; Kafatos, A.; Moreno, L. A.; Leclercq, C.
Nature Publishing Group
Ferrari, M.; et al. Evaluation of iron status in European adolescents through biochemical iron indicators: the HELENA Study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65(3): 340-349 (2011). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/28879]
SponsorshipThe HELENA Study was supported financially by the European Community Sixth RTD Framework Programme (Contract FOOD-CT-2005-007034).
Background/Objectives: To assess the iron status among European adolescents through selected biochemical parameters in a cross-sectional study performed in 10 European cities. Subjects/Methods: Iron status was defined utilising biochemical indicators. Iron depletion was defined as low serum ferritin (SF<15 μg/l). Iron deficiency (ID) was defined as high-soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR>8.5 mg/l) plus iron depletion. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) was defined as ID with haemoglobin (Hb) below the WHO cutoff for age and sex: 12.0 g/dl for girls and for boys aged 12.5–14.99 years and 13.0 g/dl for boys aged greater than or equal to15 years. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was used as analytical method for SF, sTfR and C-reactive protein (CRP). Subjects with indication of inflammation (CRP >5 mg/l) were excluded from the analyses. A total of 940 adolescents aged 12.5–17.49 years (438 boys and 502 girls) were involved. Results: The percentage of iron depletion was 17.6%, significantly higher in girls (21.0%) compared with boys (13.8%). The overall percentage of ID and IDA was 4.7 and 1.3%, respectively, with no significant differences between boys and girls. A correlation was observed between log (SF) and Hb (r=0.36, P<0.01), and between log (sTfR) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (r=−0.30, P<0.01). Iron body stores were estimated on the basis of log (sTfR/SF). A higher percentage of negative values of body iron was recorded in girls (16.5%) with respect to boys (8.3%), and body iron values tended to increase with age in boys, whereas the values remained stable in girls. Conclusions: To ensure adequate iron stores, specific attention should be given to girls at European level to ensure that their dietary intake of iron is adequate.