Sharply higher rates of iron deficiency in obese Mexican women and children are predicted by obesity-related inflammation rather than by differences in dietary iron intake.

Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Netherlands.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.5). 03/2011; 93(5):975-83. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.005439
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obese individuals may be at increased risk of iron deficiency (ID), but it is unclear whether this is due to poor dietary iron intakes or to adiposity-related inflammation.
The aim of this study was to examine the relations between body mass index (BMI), dietary iron, and dietary factors affecting iron bioavailability, iron status, and inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP)] in a transition country where obesity and ID are common.
Data from the 1999 Mexican Nutrition Survey, which included 1174 children (aged 5-12 y) and 621 nonpregnant women (aged 18-50 y), were analyzed.
The prevalence of obesity was 25.3% in women and 3.5% in children. The prevalence of ID was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in obese women and children compared with normal-weight subjects [odds ratios (95% CIs): 1.92 (1.23, 3.01) and 3.96 (1.34, 11.67) for women and children, respectively]. Despite similar dietary iron intakes in the 2 groups, serum iron concentrations were lower in obese women than in normal-weight women (62.6 ± 29.5 compared with 72.4 ± 34.6 μg/dL; P = 0.014), and total-iron-binding capacity was higher in obese children than in normal-weight children (399 ± 51 compared with 360 ± 48 μg/dL; P < 0.001). CRP concentrations in obese women and children were 4 times those of their normal-weight counterparts (P < 0.05). CRP but not iron intake was a strong negative predictor of iron status, independently of BMI (P < 0.05).
The risk of ID in obese Mexican women and children was 2-4 times that of normal-weight individuals at similar dietary iron intakes. This increased risk of ID may be due to the effects of obesity-related inflammation on dietary iron absorption. Thus, ID control efforts in Mexico may be hampered by increasing rates of adiposity in women and children.

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