Campaign to tackle iron deficiency in land of plenty

Despite a plentiful food supply of nutritious foods in New Zealand, we still have an issue with inadequate nutrient intakes and deficiencies, particularly dietary iron, writes Beef + Lamb NZ Inc head of nutrition, Fiona Windle.

Eight out of 10 toddlers don’t meet the recommended daily intake of dietary iron, one in 14 New Zealand women are low in iron, 14 percent of children under the age of two are iron-deficient and over a third of teenage girls don’t achieve their daily iron requirements. Worldwide, iron deficiency and anaemia is the most common global nutrient deficiency, with the World Health Organisation highlighting 30 percent or two billion of the world population are anaemic, with the majority caused by iron deficiency.

Given iron’s essential role in growth, development, immunity, cognition and energy, the impacts of low iron status are serious, but in the everyday busy New Zealander, it may fly under the radar as the signs and symptoms are common to a busy lifestyle – fatigue, lack of focus, feeling grumpy, to name a few.

Hence, the World Iron Awareness Week campaign brings a very serious issue front of mind and calls for the general public to tune in to how they are feeling, having a closer look at their diet and lifestyle, and hopefully doing something about it, whether it be a dietary change or seeing a health professional.

This year the campaign runs from 26 August – 1 September with a New Zealand focus on adolescent females.  For more information or to get involved, visit www.ironweek.co.nz use the hashtag #WorldIronWeek or contact Fiona Windle at Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc fiona@beeflambnz.co.nz.

Does NZ-produced red meat have a role in a healthy and sustainable diet?

 In June, a panel of leading scientists and food industry figures, a NZ Herald journalist and a roomful of passionate foodies were facilitated by journalist Niki Bezzant to consider the above question. Panel members included Dr Mike Boland, (Riddet Institute), GP Dr Mark Craig, Dr Denise Conroy (Plant & Food Research), Angela Clifford (Eat NZ), Jeremy Baker (Beef + Lamb NZ Ltd). The result is a fascinating podcast, which you can hear at http://bit.ly/2YQ6u7T.

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