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Am J Public Health. 1998 Apr;88(4):576-80.

Deficient dietary iron intakes among women and children in Russia: evidence from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-7400, USA.



This study evaluated the iron sufficiency of the Russian diet.


Data were obtained from 24-hour dietary recalls conducted in 4 rounds (1992 through 1994) of a nationally representative longitudinal survey of 10,548 women and children. Iron bioavailability was estimated via algorithms adjusting for enhancers (heme, vitamin C) and inhibitors (tannins in tea, phytates in grains) consumed at the same meal.


Dietary iron intakes were deficient in the most vulnerable groups: young children and women of reproductive age. Poverty status was strongly associated with deficiency. After adjustment for enhancers and inhibitors, estimated bioavailable iron intakes at 3% to 4% of total iron were inadequate in all women and children.


These dietary data suggest that Russian women and children are at high risk of iron deficiency. Grain products rich in phytates, which inhibit absorption, were the major food source of iron in Russia. High intakes of tea and low consumption of vitamin C also inhibited iron bioavailability. Since changes in eating behavior could potentially double iron bioavailability, educational programs should be explored as a strategy for improving iron nutriture.

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