This paper reports on independent associations of household asset index and education, as components of socio-economic status, on iron status in a black population sample in Gauteng province. The study was cross-sectional, involving 40 men, 184 women (n = 224), randomly selected, based on informed consent. Socio-economic, dietary intake and biochemical data were collected using household socio-demographic questionnaires, a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and a 24 h recall questionnaire and samples of blood. Serum iron, transferrin receptor, ferritin, haemoglobin, haematocrit and mean corpuscular volume were assessed as indicators of iron status. Results indicated high levels of poverty and illiteracy among the participants. Iron intake indicated a mean of 10.88 ± 7.91 mg/day; (13.51 ± 10.20 mg/day for men and 10.31 ± 7.22 mg/day for women). More women below 50 years (43.8%) consumed less than the estimated average requirements for their age group in comparison with women above 50 years (25.0%). More women had low measures of all respective biochemical indicators compared with the men. By age, younger population groups had a higher prevalence of low iron measures than the older age groups. Household asset index, but not education, significantly predicted total iron intake (p < 0.05). Education, however, increased the likelihood of consumption being above the Estimated Average Requirement (not significantly, P > 0.05). Household asset index and total iron intake were significantly associated (p < 0.05) with all biochemical measures, particularly among women. Education level had minimal association with either of the biochemical measures. Household asset index (a proxy measure of long-term socio-economic situation) and total iron intake predict iron status in a population of South Africans.
Key words: Household, socio-economic status, biochemical, Gauteng, South Africa.
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