Is there a mismatch between who gets iron supplementation and who needs it? A cross-sectional study of iron supplements, iron deficiency anaemia and socio-economic status in Australia.Br J Nutr 2016; 115(4):703-8BJ
Fe deficiency anaemia (IDA) is more prevalent in lower socio-economic groups; however, little is known about who actually receives Fe supplements. This paper aims to determine whether the groups most likely to have IDA are the most likely to be taking Fe supplements. Logistic regression analysis was conducted using the cross-sectional, nationally representative National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey and National Health Measures Survey. After adjusting for other factors, those whose main language spoken at home was not English had twice the odds of having IDA compared with those whose main language spoken at home was English (95% CI 1·00, 4·32). Those who were not in the labour force also had twice the odds of having IDA as those who were employed (95% CI 1·16, 3·41). Those in income quintile 1 had 3·7 times the odds of having IDA compared with those in income quintile 5 (95% CI 1·42, 9·63). Those whose main language spoken at home was not English were significantly less likely to take Fe supplements (P=0·002) than those whose main language spoken at home was English. There was no significant difference in the likelihood of taking Fe supplements between those who were not in the labour force and those who were employed (P=0·618); between those who were in income quintile 1 and in higher income quintiles; and between males and females (P=0·854), after adjusting for other factors. There is a mismatch between those who are most in need of Fe supplements and those who currently receive them.