Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world, including New Zealand. Iron is a mineral that is vital to both physical and mental wellbeing. It is found in every cell of the body. Iron forms a key component of haemoglobin, the element of blood that transports oxygen around the body, supplying muscles for physical activity. Iron is also responsible for the excretion of carbon dioxide and for supporting the body against infection.
Adolescent females are at risk of Iron deficiency owing to increased Iron losses at menstruation and poor dietary habits. Pregnancy also places great demands on Iron stores. Eating a strict vegetarian diet or doing frequent aerobic exercise may increase the chance of low Iron stores in the body.