Iron Awareness Week News

16 March, 2015
For Immediate Release

NZ Iron Campaign Goes Global

13-19 April will mark this year’s World Iron Week, expanding on the New Zealand initiated ‘Are you getting enough?’ iron awareness campaign last year.  Why take it global?  The World Health Organisation recognises iron deficiency as the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world and the only nutrient deficiency which affects people in both developing and developed countries, particularly in women and children. It is estimated over 30% or 2 billion of the world’s population are anaemic, many due to iron deficiency, with infectious diseases exacerbating the condition in developing countries.  There was also support for a global campaign after presenting the concept at the International Meat Secretariat Human Nutrition and Health Committee meeting in the US last year.

Here in New Zealand, there are pockets of the population who have higher needs including infants, children and teenagers because they are growing rapidly; pregnant women for increased blood levels and to build baby’s iron stores; menstruating girls and women; athletes and very active people and those on restricted or fad diets. 

This year’s campaign focus in New Zealand will be on women aged 15-50 years who are particularly at risk of going short on iron.  Key messages of the campaign will tap into the signs of symptoms of have a low iron status, which often get put down running a busy lifestyle such as often feeling tired, grumpy, irritable and a lack of concentration.

--Ends--

For more information:

www.ironweek.co.nz Fiona Greig Nutrition Manager Beef + Lamb New Zealand
fionag@beeflambnz.co.nz
DDI 09 489 0877
021 133 1702

 

 

Tuesday 8 April 2014
For Immediate Release 

Experts State Kiwis Aren't Getting Enough


Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient disorder in the developing and developed world, including New Zealand where the issue remains a serious concern, particularly amongst Kiwi women and children.

Over 100 health professionals gathered in Auckland today to discuss the alarming statistics, which emphasise the importance of iron in our diets.

Dr Kathryn Beck of Massey University who presented on the iron status of teens and women states the figures around low iron status in New Zealand are staggering.

“With one in 14 women low in iron and over a third of teenage girls not achieving their daily requirement of iron, we need to think more about how we’re eating and when we’re eating. Drinking tea and coffee with meals is discouraged as this prevents the uptake of iron from plant sources, such as breakfast cereal. Including meat and vitamin C foods such as fruit and vegetables with a meal helps the body absorb the iron from the entire meal”.

Dr Clare Wall of the University of Auckland reiterated the importance of iron in Kiwi kids given the fact 8 out of ten toddlers are not meeting the recommended daily intake of dietary iron.

“At seven months a baby needs more iron than her dad, however 14% of children under 2 are deficient. When iron has such a vital part to play in brain development in the first two years of life, this is of concern. Iron-rich foods, including pureed red meat need to be introduced into the diet at around 6 months of age”, says Dr Wall.

And for a country that prides itself so highly on the success of its sporting achievements, it’s surprising iron deficiency is often overlooked by our top athletes.

“Iron depletion is a common issue in elite athletes, which can impair their performance. Dietary iron is vital for endurance adaptation,” says Alex Popple of High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Many New Zealanders aren’t aware of symptoms associated with low iron levels such as feeling tired, irritable and grumpy, having difficulty concentrating and feeling the cold, which are often put down to running a hectic lifestyle.

Iron is found in a number of foods, including red meat, but not all iron is equal. The iron found in plant foods such as cereals, beans, nuts and seeds are sensitive to inhibiting and enhancing factors hence the recommendation to drink tea and coffee between main meals and including fruit and vegetables, which contain vitamin C, with every meal to enhance iron uptake. Including meat with a meal also enhances the iron uptake from the vegetables by up to four times.

The symposium titled, “Iron: The Issue of deficiency in a land of plenty” was held in association with the University of Auckland Food and Health Programme, as part of Iron Awareness Week.

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Monday 7 April, 2014
For Immediate Release

 

Iron Maidens Ask Are You Getting Enough?

 

Today sees the launch of Iron Awareness Week, the first campaign of its kind, with a trio of ambassadors well known to all.

The Iron Maidens: Sarah Walker, Lisa Carrington and Sophie Pascoe are taking their role further as Beef + Lamb New Zealand ambassadors, helping to spread the message of an issue that faces many New Zealanders, but often goes unnoticed.

Feeling tired, irritable and grumpy, having difficulty concentrating and feeling the cold are all symptoms of being low in iron but are usually put down to a busy lifestyle.

“More people need to be aware of these symptoms and what can be done to improve iron levels”, says Sarah Walker, BMX medallist.

Iron deficiency remains an ongoing concern particularly for teenagers and women. Dr Kathryn Beck of Massey University says "The latest National Nutrition Survey found over 10% of New Zealand teens (15-18 years) and women (31-50 years) had iron deficiency. Many more women are likely to have low iron stores and are at risk of developing iron deficiency".

Young children are also at risk with New Zealand research revealing 8 out of 10 toddlers not meeting the recommended daily intake of dietary iron and 14% of children under 2 are deficient according to New Zealand research.

Iron’s role in red blood cell formation makes it vital for delivering oxygen to muscles during exercise and K1 Canoer medallist, Lisa Carrington knows firsthand how important iron is in her diet every day.

“Nourishing whole food is key to my performance both in training and competition, and iron-rich foods have an important role to play in my energy levels,” says Lisa.
This is also an area of interest for Senior Performance Nutritionist, Alex Popple from High Performance Sport New Zealand.

“Enhancing oxygen uptake and delivery are some of the desirable adaptations from endurance training. Paradoxically, endurance athletes are often found to have iron deficiency, which could limit or impair their performance”, says Alex.

Alex will be one of five speakers involved with a symposium for health professionals titled Iron: The Issue of deficiency in a land of plenty held in association with the University of Auckland Food and Health Programme on Tuesday 8 April. He will present his findings on the role hepcidin, a hormone which elevates after intense exercise, has on iron levels in athletes.

Iron is found in a number of foods, with lean red meat providing one of the richest sources of easily absorbed haem iron; in general the redder the meat, the higher the iron content. For more information visit www.ironweek.co.nz or visit your GP.

--Ends--

For more information:
www.ironweek.co.nz Fiona Greig Nutrition Manager Beef + Lamb New Zealand
fionag@beeflambnz.co.nz
DDI 09 489 0877
021 133 1702
#IronWeekNZ

References

  • University of Otago and Ministry of Health. (2011). A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
    Wall, CR et al. (2008). Ethnic variance in iron status: is it related to dietary intake? Public Health Nutr 12 (9):1413-1421.

 

  • Grant, CC et al. (2007). Population prevalence and risk factors for iron deficiency in Auckland, New Zealand. J Paediatr Child Health 43: 532-538. 

 

17 March 2014
For Immediate Release

Campaign Raising Issue of Deficiency in Land of Plenty

April 7 will see the launch of an inaugural campaign raising the awareness of iron deficiency, the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Not only a global issue, iron deficiency remains an ongoing issue for many New Zealanders, with many unaware they have deficient levels.

The last New Zealand adult nutrition survey revealed iron deficiency has more than doubled in the 12 years since the survey beforehand, with low iron levels evident in one in 14 adult women over 15 years old. Further, 8 out of 10 toddlers are not meeting the recommended daily intake of dietary iron and 14% of children under 2 are deficient according to New Zealand research.*

The campaign named ‘Are you getting enough?’ will get the general public posing the question are they and their families eating enough iron-rich foods for good health.

The symptoms of iron deficiency often go unnoticed, being put down to having a busy lifestyle. These include feeling tired, irritable or grumpy, suffering frequent infections, feeling the cold and difficulty concentrating.

Iron Awareness Week, which will run 7-13 April, will include a scientific symposium for health professionals on Tuesday 8 April hosted by the University of Auckland’s Food and Health Programme including University of Auckland’s Dr Clare Wall who will focus on the iron status of infants and toddlers, and Professor David Cameron-Smith who specialises in the link between nutrition and genetics and the maintenance of health for an
aging population.

Alex Popple of High Performance New Zealand will also highlight the issue amongst athletes; Kathryn Beck of Massey University will address the prevalence of iron deficiency amongst women and teenagers and Bob Stewart of Massey University will focus on how iron is absorbed in the body.

--Ends--

For more information:
www.ironweek.co.nz
Fiona Greig
Nutrition Manager
Beef + Lamb New Zealand
fionag@beeflambnz.co.nz
DDI 09 489 0877
021 133 1702
#IronWeekNZ
*References
University of Otago and Ministry of Health. (2011). A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand
Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
Wall, CR et al. (2008). Ethnic variance in iron status: is it related to dietary intake? Public Health Nutr 12 (9):1413-
1421.
Grant, CC et al. (2007). Population prevalence and risk factors for iron deficiency in Auckland, New Zealand. J Paediatr
Child Health 43: 532-538.

 

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