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Open AccessMeeting Report
Nutrients 2017, 9(6), 576;

Iron for Africa—Report of an Expert Workshop

Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen 6700 AA, The Netherlands
Nutrition and Health Department, School of Public Health and Community Development, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya
Public Health Department, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Private Bag 360, Blantyre 8, Malawi
Hassan II University, Faculty of medicine, CHU Ibn Rochd, Casablanca, Morocco
National Public Health Institute (INSP) and Nutrition Society of Côte d’Ivoire (SIN), Adjamé BPV 47, Abidjan 01, Côte d’Ivoire
Danone Nutricia Research, route de la Vauve, Palaiseau 91120, France
VAB-nutrition, rue Claude Danziger, Clermont-Ferrand 63100, France
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Schmelzbergstrasse, Zurich 78092, Switzerland
MRC Unit The Gambia, Atlantic Road, Fajara, The Gambia & MRC International Nutrition Group, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel St, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors wrote the report on the behalf of the workshop participants, listed in the acknowledgment section.
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 19 May 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [271 KB, uploaded 29 June 2017]


Scientific experts from nine countries gathered to share their views and experience around iron interventions in Africa. Inappropriate eating habits, infections and parasitism are responsible for significant prevalence of iron deficiency, but reliable and country-comparable prevalence estimates are lacking: improvements in biomarkers and cut-offs values adapted to context of use are needed. Benefits of iron interventions on growth and development are indisputable and outweigh risks, which exist in populations with a high infectious burden. Indeed, pathogen growth may increase with enhanced available iron, calling for caution and preventive measures where malaria or other infections are prevalent. Most African countries programmatically fortify flour and supplement pregnant women, while iron deficiency in young children is rather addressed at individual level. Coverage and efficacy could improve through increased access for target populations, raised awareness and lower cost. More bioavailable iron forms, helping to decrease iron dose, or prebiotics, which both may lower risk of infections are attractive opportunities for Africa. Fortifying specific food products could be a relevant route, adapted to local context and needs of population groups while providing education and training. More globally, partnerships involving various stakeholders are encouraged, that could tackle all aspects of the issue. View Full-Text
Keywords: iron deficiency; fortification; benefit-risk ratio; anemia; malaria; biomarkers iron deficiency; fortification; benefit-risk ratio; anemia; malaria; biomarkers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mwangi, M.N.; Phiri, K.S.; Abkari, A.; Gbané, M.; Bourdet-Sicard, R.; Braesco, V.A.; Zimmermann, M.B.; Prentice, A.M. Iron for Africa—Report of an Expert Workshop. Nutrients 2017, 9, 576.

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