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Can Med Assoc J. 1976 Mar 6;114(5):417-21.

Serum ferritin and the iron status of Canadians.


Serum ferritin concentration was determined in 1105 Canadians aged 1 to 90 years. Geometric mean values (ng/ml) were as follows: children 1 to 4 years old, 12; children 5 to 9 years old, 15; adolescent girls, 17; adolescent boys, 18; women 20 to 39 years, 23; women 65 years and older, 52; men 20 to 39 years, 93; and men 40 and older, 92. Ranges were side in all age groups, reflecting variations in size of body iron stores. From analysis of the ferritin values it is highly probably that iron stores were greatly reduced in approximately 25% of children, 30% of adolescents, 30% of menstruating women, 60% of pregnant women and 3% of men. Iron-deficiency anemia was noted in only 2% of subjects. If "normality" requires more than small amounts of storage iron to meet physiologic demands, the study results suggest a high probability of iron deficiency in 60% of the pregnant women and in 19% of the other subjects; but if normality is defined as maintenance of adequate iron stores for erythropoiesis, the prevalence of iron deficiency was zero in the pregnant women and 2% in the other subjects.

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