Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional problem in many parts of the world and the most common cause of anemia in Saudi Arabia especially among female. Accordingly, this study was designed to determine the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia among apparently healthy Saudi young female university students studying at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah province. Three hundred ten blood samples were collected from the students. Their ages ranged between (18 and 23) years. The data collected consisted of two sections: (A) included socio-demographic data on students such as age, height, weight, social habits, diseases symptoms, menstrual, dietary, and medical history and (B) consisted of laboratory results carried out on each subject.
50.2% of students were normal and hence considered as control group. 25.9% of students had deficient iron store and 23.9% of students had iron deficiency anemia. There was a significant correlation between iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia with inadequate meat intake and impaired exercise capacity. Furthermore, pallor and past medical history of iron deficiency anemia were statically significant variables. Therefore, it is recommended to use screening and educational programs for iron deficiency anemia among female as high risk groups. Iron supplement and food iron fortification are required in order to overcome this simple but common health problem.
Key words: Iron deficiency anemia, deficiency, female at university stage, socio demographic data.
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