Pawlak R; Bell K. - - Ann Nutr Metab 2017; 70: 88-99.

Iron Status of Vegetarian Children: A Review of Literature

Background: Iron is considered a nutrient of concern for vegetarians. In children, inadequate iron status may lead to anemia and poor growth. Summary: Thirteen original manuscripts met the inclusion criteria. Various biochemical markers of iron status, such as hemoglobin (Hb) and serum ferritin, were used. Seven of the 13 studies reported the prevalence of iron deficiency separately for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Five out of 7 showed a higher prevalence of iron deficiency among the vegetarian participants, while the other 2 showed a higher prevalence of iron deficiency among non-vegetarians. A wide range of iron deficiency prevalence, from 4.3% of vegetarian participants in one study to 73% having ferritin <10 µg/L in another study, was found. Hb data showed almost as wide variations from 0% of children having Hb values lower than 11 g/dL to 47.5% having Hb values below 3rd percentile. Key Messages: The prevalence of iron deficiency among vegetarian children varies considerably from one study to another. The wide variation in the prevalence of inadequate iron status was consistent for studies from industrial and developing countries. The physiological significance of low iron status among vegetarians reported in some studies is unknown.

Keywords: Vegetarians · Children · Iron status · Hemoglobin · Ferritin ·