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Nepal Med Coll J. 2004 Jun;6(1):13-6.

Status of serum ferritin and folate levels amongst young women in a rural community of Haryana, India.

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Department of Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India.


A community based cross sectional study was conducted amongst young married non-pregnant women aged 18 years or more from six randomly selected villages in Ballabhgarh block, district Faridabad, Haryana state. Data was collected on socio-demographic profile and obstetric parameters utilizing a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire. The non-pregnancy status of the women was confirmed by inquiring about the last menstrual period. Serum ferritin and folate levels were assessed utilizing the ELISA and the RIA method, respectively Serum ferritin and folate levels less than 15.0 and 3 ng/ml were considered as indicator of poor iron and folic acid stores, respectively. The dietary intake of iron, folic acid and calories was assessed utilizing the 24-hour dietary recall methodology. Almost 63.8 and 27.7 % of the women had poor serum ferritin and folate levels. The mean dietary intake of iron, folic acid and calories was 14.8+/-7.7 mg, 49.2+/-20.1 microg, and 1564+/-411 kcal, respectively. There was an inadequate intake of food as revealed by their calorie intake that was 83.4% of the recommended dietary allowances. Only 6.9 and 7.8 % of the women were consuming iron and folic acid more than 75.0 % of the recommeded dietary allowances (RDA) Women with dietary intake of calories less than 50.0 % of the RDA had a lower serum ferritin level compared to the women who had a higher calorie intake. It was also revealed that there was a decreasing trend in serum folate levels with poor socio-economic status. Young rural women had poor serum ferritin and folate levels in the community studied, possibly due to poor dietary intake of food and thereby iron and folic acid. Distribution of iron and folic acid tablets may be recommended to young women of reproductive age group.

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