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Open AccessArticle

Low Prevalence of Iron and Vitamin A Deficiency among Cambodian Women of Reproductive Age

UMR-204 Nutripass, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, IRD/UM/SupAgro, 34394 Montpellier, France
National Nutrition Program, Ministry of Health, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
World Food Program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Planning Unit, University of Health Sciences, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
UNICEF, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Laney Graduate School, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Copenhagen University, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2016, 8(4), 197;
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 1 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients and National Strategies to Impact Health)
Nearly half of women of reproductive age (WRA) in Cambodia are anemic. To guide interventions, national data on nutritional causes of anemia, including iron deficiency and vitamin A deficiency, are needed. In 2012, a national household survey in WRA on antibodies to routine vaccine-preventable disease immunity was performed. We used serum samples from this survey to estimate the prevalence of iron and vitamin A deficiency in 2112 Cambodian WRA, aged 15 to 39 years. Iron deficiency was classified as low or marginal iron stores (ferritin concentrations corrected for inflammation <15 μg/L and <50 μg/L respectively; Fer), iron deficient erythropoiesis (soluble transferrin receptor concentrations >8.3 mg/L; sTfR), or low total body iron (TBI) derived from Fer and sTfR concentrations (<0 mg/kg). Vitamin A status was classified using retinol binding protein (RBP) concentrations corrected for inflammation as deficient (<0.70 μmol/L) or marginal (<1.05 μmol/L. Overall, the prevalence of low iron stores, low TBI and iron deficient erythropoiesis was 8.1%, 5.0% and 9.3% respectively. Almost 40% of the women had marginal iron stores. Iron status was better in women living in urban areas compared to rural areas (p < 0.05 for TBI and sTfR). The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency was <1%. These findings suggest that the contribution of iron and vitamin A deficiency to the high prevalence of anemia in Cambodian WRA may be limited. The etiology of anemia in Cambodia needs to be elucidated further to guide current policies on anemia. View Full-Text
Keywords: iron; vitamin A; deficiency; Cambodia; women of reproductive age; inflammation iron; vitamin A; deficiency; Cambodia; women of reproductive age; inflammation
MDPI and ACS Style

Wieringa, F.T.; Sophonneary, P.; Whitney, S.; Mao, B.; Berger, J.; Conkle, J.; Dijkhuizen, M.A.; Laillou, A. Low Prevalence of Iron and Vitamin A Deficiency among Cambodian Women of Reproductive Age. Nutrients 2016, 8, 197.

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