High iron level ups risk of noncommunicable disease in adolescents

20 Mar 2023
High iron level ups risk of noncommunicable disease in adolescents

A recent study in India has found a significant association between high serum ferritin (SF) and noncommunicable disease (NCD) in adolescents. Additionally, such interaction is dependent on wealth and coexisting prediabetes.

“This should be considered when enhancing iron intake in anaemia prevention programs, and the NCD relationship with body iron stores should be studied,” said the researchers.

Logistic additive models, adjusted for confounders such as age, body mass index, C-reactive protein, haemoglobin, and sex, were used to explore the association between NCD and SF in adolescent participants (aged 10‒19 years) of the Indian Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey.

The researchers also examined the interaction of this association with wealth and coexisting prediabetes. In addition, they performed a scenario analysis to understand the effect of iron fortification of cereals on the prevalence of NCD among adolescents.

The odds ratios for each 10-µg/L increase in SF were 1.05 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.01‒1.08) for fasting blood glucose (FBG), 1.02 (95 percent CI, 1.001‒1.03) for hypertension, and 1.04 (95 percent CI, 1.01‒1.06) for total cholesterol (TC). Additionally, the likelihood of high TC grew with coexisting prediabetes.

In scenario analysis, providing 10 mg of iron per day through fortification tended to increase the prevalence of high FBG by 2‒14 percent across states of India. Similar increases in hypertension and TC were also observed.

“High body iron status has been associated with NCD like diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidaemia in adults,” the researchers said.

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