The impact of iron fortification on nutritional anaemia.Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2005 Jun; 18(2):333-46.BP
Iron deficiency continues to be the most prevalent nutritional deficiency disorder in the world, affecting an estimated two billion people, most of whom live in developing countries. It has far-reaching effects on the health, well-being and productivity of those affected. Iron fortification of food is regarded as the most cost-effective method for reducing the prevalence of nutritional iron deficiency. In industrialized countries this has had an important beneficial effect; however, nutritional anaemia remains very prevalent in developing countries, and iron fortification appears until recently to have had little impact. Two important reasons for the latter situation are inadequate documentation of the magnitude of the iron deficiency component of anaemia in different regions of the world, and the use of iron compounds that are poorly bioavailable in fortification programmes. Several recent interventions using innovative approaches to dietary fortification that ensure the delivery of adequate quantities of bioavailable iron have demonstrated that iron fortification of food can be an effective and implementable strategy for controlling nutritional iron deficiency in non-industrialized countries.