Not only a global issue, iron deficiency remains an ongoing issue for many New Zealanders, with many unaware they have deficient levels.
The last New Zealand adult nutrition survey revealed iron deficiency has more than doubled in the 12 years since the survey beforehand, with low iron levels evident in one in 14 adult women over 15 years old. Further, 8 out of 10 toddlers are not meeting the recommended daily intake of dietary iron and 14 percent of children under two are deficient according to New Zealand research.*
The campaign named ‘Are you getting enough?’ will get the general public posing the question are they and their families eating enough iron-rich foods for good health.
The symptoms of iron deficiency often go unnoticed, being put down to having a busy lifestyle. These include feeling tired, irritable or grumpy, suffering frequent infections, feeling the cold and difficulty concentrating.
Iron Awareness Week, which will run 7-13 April, will include a scientific symposium for health professionals on Tuesday 8 April hosted by the University of Auckland’s Food and Health Programme including University of Auckland’s Dr Clare Wall who will focus on the iron status of infants and toddlers, and Professor David Cameron-Smith who specialises in the link between nutrition and genetics and the maintenance of health for an ageing population.
Alex Popple of High Performance New Zealand will also highlight the issue amongst athletes; Kathryn Beck of Massey University will address the prevalence of iron deficiency amongst women and teenagers and Bob Stewart of Massey University will focus on how iron is absorbed in the body.