How Many Adults Are Iron Deficient?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficit in the world as well as the leading cause of anemia. Let’s take a look at whom iron deficiency is affecting with some interesting statistics, from Canada and the world.

Canadian Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics

According to Statistics Canada:

  • Approximately 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women are iron deficient while only 3% of men are iron deficient in Canada;
  • According to a study that measured iron indices in Canadians, 9% of women aged 20 to 49 and 13% of females aged 12 to 19 were found to have depleted iron stores;
  • Canadian Blood Services reports that approximately 10% of female donors fail to meet the minimum hemoglobin criteria on a given donation;
  • The prevalence of anemia is highest among non-pregnant Inuit women in Canada with anemia present in 43% and iron deficiency anemia accounting for 21%;
  • Iron deficiency anemia accounts for 61% of anemia cases in non-pregnant Inuit women aged 18 to 49 while 42% of cases of anemia in Inuit women over 50 are related to chronic inflammation;
  • The prevalence of anemia in Inuit women is similar to levels found in non-industrialized countries;
  • According to a 2010 report by the British Columbia Ministry of Health, anemia in the elderly has a significant impact on quality of life, and treatment of iron deficiency and its underlying causes could improve outcomes.


Global Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • 2 billion people are affected by anemia worldwide and 293 million of those affected are preschool age children;
  • 56 million pregnant women are anemic (41.8% prevalence globally);
  • 468 million non-pregnant women are anemic (30.2% prevalence globally);
  • The latest estimates from the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that 750 million children worldwide suffer from iron deficiency and anemia.

According to UNICEF:

  • 4 to 5 billion people suffer from iron deficiency and 2 billion are anemic;
  • Women and children are the most vulnerable with 50% of pregnant women and 40% – 50% of children under 5 in developing countries being iron deficient.

Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs

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2 thoughts on “How Many Adults Are Iron Deficient?

  1. Donna says:

    I had bariatric surgery 3 years ago and have a Feritin level of 8. My hemoglobin was very low a year and a half ago and was transfused for 2 units. I am currently on Feramax twice daily and am wondering if there is anything on the market in comparison to Feramax that may be less expensive….
    Thanks, Donna London ON

    • Leona, RN & Blood Specialist says:

      Hi Donna,

      I am so glad to see you here on the blog. First, as a Bariatric Patient, you should be aware the heme and polysaccharide irons are your only choice. Assuming that you had gastric bypass, specifically an RNY, the first section of the small intestine that is bypassed is the surface area where iron salts are absorbed. I know that heme and polysaccharide irons are more expensive, but if you do the math, the price per tablet is about the same. Personally I would prefer to spend my money on something that my surgical gut can absorb rather than risk stage three anemia and possibly requiring blood transfusion and intravenous iron therapy.

      On a side note, I will be speaking at the Bariatric Community Event 25-APR-15 “The Weight is Over” in London. Hope to see you there!

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