JOURNAL ARTICLE

Associations of iron status with dietary and other factors in 6-year-old children

B S Gunnarsson, I Thorsdottir, G Palsson
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007, 61 (3): 398-403
16988649

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the associations of iron status at 6 years of age with dietary and other factors.

DESIGN: In a cross-sectional study, children's dietary intakes (3-day weighed food record) were recorded, body size was measured and blood samples were taken near their sixth birthday.

SUBJECTS: A sample of 188 children, from two previous studies (cohorts 1 and 2), was contacted, and 139 (74%) agreed to participate.

RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses with dietary and other factors showed that meat and fish consumption, multivitamin/mineral supplement intake (both positively) and cow's milk product consumption (negatively) were associated with log serum ferritin (SF) (adjusted R (2)=0.125; P=0.028; n=129), and juices and residence (rural>urban) with haemoglobin (Hb) (adjusted R (2)=0.085; P=0.034; n=127). Of 21 multivitamin/mineral consumers, none had depleted iron stores compared to 21 iron-depleted of 108 non-consumers (P=0.024). Children living in rural areas (<10,000 inhabitants) (n=33) had higher mean corpuscular volume (MCV) (83.3+/-2.3 fl) than those living in urban areas (>10,000 inhabitants) (82.1+/-3.2 fl; n=103) (P=0.048). Multiple regression analyses with dietary and other factors and growth showed in cohort 1 that residence (rural>urban), weight gain 0-1years (negatively), and meat and fish intake (positively) were associated with Hb (adjusted R (2)=0.323; P=0.030; n=51), meat and fish (positively) with both log SF (adjusted R (2)=0.069; P=0.035; n=52) and MCV (adjusted R (2)=0.064; P=0.035; n=52), and in cohort 2 cow's milk product consumption (negatively) was associated with log SF (adjusted R (2)=0.119; P=0.017; n=41) and residence (rural>urban) with MCV (adjusted R (2)=0.102; P=0.025; n=41).

CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of meat and fish and possibly also juices, as well as multivitamin/mineral intake might affect iron status in 6-year-old children positively, whereas cow's milk product consumption might affect iron status negatively. Slower growth in the first year of life and rural residence are positively related to iron status of 6-year-olds.

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