Back to R&D main

UNI Medical Centre Iron Project

Project start date: 30 June 2006
Project end date: 30 June 2008
Publication date: 01 April 2008
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (0.6 MB)


Iron deficiency is common in young women and associated with decreased general health, well-being and fatigue. They are also at risk of rapid weight gain. Restrained eating behaviour can compromise nutrient intake in young women, particularly if associated with meat avoidance. Weight management dietary strategies are therefore required which ensure their high iron and zinc requirements are met.    
Purpose and description
To determine effective dietary strategies for maintaining a healthy weight as well as iron and zinc status in young women. Research was funded following successful applications from researchers with expertise in iron nutrition and young women from the University of Newcastle; the University of Sydney; and Deakin University. Cross sectional studies provided evidence on the prevalence of iron and other nutrient status; dietary intake; and associations with iron and zinc status. Intervention studies evaluated the effectiveness of dietary strategies and the role iron plays in cognition.
Establish the prevalence of low iron levels in female rural students.To determine the relationship between dietary intake and nutritional status of vitamin B12, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids in female university students.To determine the effect of a higher protein (red meat), moderate carbohydrate, low fat diet on body weight, metabolic, immunological and inflammatory markers, satiety, eating behavior and self esteem compared to a conventional high carbohydrate, low fat diet.To assess the impact of dietary intake and physical activity on iron and zinc status in women blood donors (aged 20 to 40 years).To describe the prevalence of iron deficiency in normal weight compared to obese women and associations with cognitive performance.To determine whether iron supplementation improves cognitive functioning, general health and well-being, fatigue and depressive symptoms in non-anaemic iron deficient women of childbearing age.To determine zinc status and the relationship between iron and zinc status, dietary intake and measures of cognition and mood.To assess the validity of the mobile phone app as a suitable dietary intervention tool for improving intakes of bioavailable iron and zinc.
Outcomes Citations:Fayet F, Flood V, Truswell AS, Petocz P, Franklin J, Caterson ID, Samman S. Dieting practices adversely affects nutritional status in young women. Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 2008; 65(2): A30. See F, Truswell AS et al. Eating behaviour and biomarkers of nutritional status in young women. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007;16(3):S57. See F, Samman S. (2013). Avoidance of meat and poultry decreases intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc in young women. Journal Human Nutrition & Dietetics. 2013, Mar (available online, in press). See HL, Hancock D, Rooney K, Steinbeck K, Griffin H, O'Connor H. A candidate gene approach to identifying differential iron responses of young overweight and obese women to an energy-restricted haem iron-rich diet. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Under Review]. See Cheng HL, Bryant C, Rooney K, Steinbeck K, Griffin H, Petocz P, O'Connor H. Iron hepcidin and inflammatory status of young healthy overweight and obese women in Australia. PloS ONE 2013; 8(7):1-6.  See HL, Griffin H, Bryant C, Rooney K, Steinbeck K, O'Connor H. Impact of diet and weight loss on iron and zinc status in overweight and obese young women. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013;22:574-82. See HL, Bryant C, Cook R, O'Connor H, Rooney K, Steinbeck K. The relationship between obesity and hypoferraemia in adults: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews 2012;13(2):150-61. See O'Connor H, Munas Z, Griffin H, Rooney K, Cheng H.L, Steinbeck K. Nutritional adequacy of energy restricted diets for young obese women. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011; 20(2):206-211. See HL, Griffin H, Claes B, Petocz P, Steinbeck K, Rooney K, O'Connor H. Influence of dietary macronutrient composition on eating behaviour and self-perception in young women undergoing weight management. Eating and Weight Disorders: Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity 2014;19:241-247. See H. et al. (2013). Higher protein diet for weight management in young women: a 12 month randomized controlled trial. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism. 2013 Jun;15(6):572-5. See, A.J., Patterson, A.J., Collins, C.E., & Chalmers, K.A. (2013). Iron deficiency, cognition, mental health and fatigue in women of childbearing age: a systematic review. Journal of Nutritional Science, 2, e14 doi:10.1017/jns.2013.7. See, A.J., Chalmers, K.A., Collins C.E., & Patterson, A.J. (2014). Comparison of two doses of elemental iron in the treatment of latent iron deficiency: efficacy, side effects and blinding capabilities. Nutrients, 6(4): 1394-405 DOI: 10.3390/nu6041394. See, A.J., Patterson, A.J., Collins, C.E., & Chalmers, K.A. Is soluble transferrin receptor a useful marker in early stage iron deficiency? (2013). e-SPEN Journal, 8:e210-e212.  See A., Hutchesson, M., Patterson, A., Chalmers, K., & Collins, C. (2014). Recruitment and retention of young women into nutrition research studies: practical considerations. Trials, 15(1):23. See, A.J., Chalmers, K.A., Collins C.E., & Patterson A.J. (2014). A Study of the Effects of Latent Iron Deficiency on Measures of Cognition: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial of Iron Supplementation in Young Women. Nutrients, 6(6): 2419-2435 DOI: 10.3390/nu6062419. See, A. J., Chalmers, K.A., Collins, C.E & Patterson, A.J (2014). "The effect of nutrition knowledge and dietary iron intake on iron status in young women." Appetite 81: 225-231 10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.021. See​

More information

Project manager: Heather Mills
Primary researcher: University of New England