Low Nutrients Tied to Anemia Risk in Postmenopausal Women

Multiple dietary deficiencies linked to 21 percent increased risk of persistent anemia

FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Inadequate nutrient intake is associated with greater risk for anemia in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Cynthia A. Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues investigated the association between nutrient intake and prevalence of incident and persistent anemia in 93,676 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79 years. Women were enrolled between 1993 and 1998, and data collection on anemia rates (hemoglobin concentration less than 12.0 g/dL), diet (food frequency questionnaire), and demographics continued until 2000. Persistent anemia was defined as the presence of anemia at each measurement period.

The investigators identified anemia in 5.5 percent of the study population, and it was associated with age, body mass index, and smoking. Lower intakes of energy, folate, vitamin B-12, iron, vitamin C, protein, and red meat were reported by women with anemia. Inadequate intake of multiple anemia-associated nutrients was less common in non-Hispanic whites than in other races or ethnic groups. The risk for persistent anemia increased by 21 percent with more than one dietary deficiency, and by 44 percent with three nutrient deficiencies.

"The findings demonstrate that anemia-associated nutrient inadequacies are not uncommon in postmenopausal women regardless of race/ethnicity," the authors write. "These data also suggest that inadequacy in several nutrients, compared to a single nutrient inadequacy, is associated with greater persistence of anemia in older women."

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