Who needs Iron?

Teenagers and Iron

How much iron do teenagers need?

  • Teenagers undergo rapid growth spurts, which increase their nutrient requirements, including iron.
  • Many teenagers skip meals or follow fad and unbalanced diets in which iron may be lacking.
  • Teenagers who follow a vegetarian diet or who are on a slimming diet have an increased risk of being iron deficient.

Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Iron per day (mg)

  • Boys (aged 14-18 years), 11mg
  • Girls (aged 14-18 years), 15mg

Can I get enough iron on a vegetarian diet?

  • Well-absorbed haem iron is only found in animal foods - red meat, poultry and fish. The removal of these haem iron foods from the diet greatly reduces absorption of iron.
  • Vegetarians need to consume proportionally more iron to meet their daily iron needs as they are relying on non-haem iron.
  • For most vegetarians, non-haem iron, the poorly absorbed form of iron, is generally the only source of iron in their diet. Vegetarians can meet their daily iron requirements, but it takes very careful planning.

Lean beef and lamb contain less than a fifth of the total fat found in other protein foods such as cheese or nuts as well as providing extra iron, zinc and B vitamins. Due to the high protein content of beef and lamb, it makes a satisfying meal (helping us feel full for longer), aiding weight control.

The high iron content of lean beef and lamb helps you perform your best in the classroom, as iron helps carry oxygen around the body and to the brain, allowing you to concentrate and think!

Iron also provides you with the oxygen capacity for your muscles to function in your sport(s) of choice.

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