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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 4

of 'Iron requirements and iron deficiency in adolescents'

Anaemia and iron deficiency screening in adolescence: a pilot study of iron stores and haemoglobin response to iron treatment in a population of 14-15-year-olds in Norway.
Eskeland B, Hunskaar S
Acta Paediatr. 1999;88(8):815.
Screening for haemoglobin (Hb) and s-ferritin, in 176 of all 189 (93%) pupils at 8th grade (14-15-years-old) in one Norwegian community was performed in order to map the prevalence of anaemia and depleted iron stores. In order to determine the clinical significance of the findings, a questionnaire aimed at detecting symptoms or risk factors for iron deficiency was completed by all participants, and a 3 mo therapeutic trial with iron was offered to subjects with s-ferritin values below 15 microg/l. Four percent of girls and 8% of boys were anaemic according to WHO cut-off levels. S-ferritin<15 microg/l was found in 25% of girls and 30% of boys. Forty-four of 48 pupils with s-ferritin<15 microg/l completed the therapeutic trial. Only three pupils had a clinically significant increase in Hb, representing less than 2% of the population. The questionnaire gave no clues that could identify subjects with depleted iron stores. To increase Hb in one 14-15-y-old with depleted iron stores, 59 (95% CHI: 20-285) had to be screened and 16 (6-76) had to be given iron treatment. This pilot study suggests that functional iron deficiency is rare in Norwegian adolescents despite a high frequency of low iron stores. A double blind, placebo controlled study covering the entire span of pubescence is needed to confirm these results.
Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway.