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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2009;18(1):41-7.

Micronutrient status in anemic and non-anemic Chinese women in the third trimester of pregnancy.

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  • 1Institute of Human Nutrition, Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao, P. R. China.



Anemia is a major nutrition related problem in China. In addition to iron deficiency this may be due to deficiencies of other micronutrients.


To describe the micronutrient status of anemic and non-anemic pregnant women in China.


734 clinically normal pregnant women in the third trimester aged 20-35, were randomly recruited from the population of pregnant women regularly receiving pregnant examination in community medical centers. Serum concentrations of vitamins A, B12 and C, iron and zinc status parameters, and vitamin B2 in urine were determined. Subjects were categorized according to the presence or absence of anemia and compared according to micronutrient status.


Serum concentrations of iron and micronutrients were significantly lower in anemic women than non-anemic women: serum iron 909 microg/L versus 1109 microg/L, ferritin 13.8 microg/L versus 19.6 microg/L, vitamin C 308.9 microg/L versus 388.1 microg/dL, and retinol 50.0 microg/dL versus 59.3 microg/dL. Zinc concentrations were also lower in anemic women. Subnormal serum iron (<700 microg/L) and iron depletion (ferritin <12 microg/L) were 39.7% and 52.6%, significantly more frequent in anemic than 23.9% and 35.0% in non-anemic subjects, as were subnormal vitamin A and ascorbic acid. Subnormal vitamin B2 and B12 were frequent in both anemic and non-anemic groups.


Subnormal concentrations of iron and micronutrients in combination may contribute to this situation. Further studies on food-based or supplement-based approaches trying to increase intake of iron and certain vitamins are warranted to decrease anemia in pregnant Chinese women in the third trimester.

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