Iron Status in Female Athletes Participating in Team Ball-Sports

Research Article
Iron Status in Female Athletes Participating in Team Ball-Sports

A. Ahmadi, N. Enayatizadeh, M. Akbarzadeh, S. Asadi and S.H.R. Tabatabaee

Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 2010, 13(2), 93-96.


Iron deficiency anemia is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency in the world, affecting 20-50% of the world’s population. It is estimated that 10 and 20% of male and female athletes are iron deficient, respectively. Iron deficiency has deleterious effects on the physical performance of athletes. It decreases aerobic capacity, increases heart rate and elongates the recovery time after exercise. In this cross-sectional study, 42 semi-professional female athletes who had been playing in basketball, volleyball and handball super league teams served as subjects. Data on socioeconomic and fertility status as well as the type of sport were obtained through a questionnaire. Nutritional data were gathered with a 3 day dietary recall. Total intake of calorie, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin C and B12 were also analyzed. In addition, ferritin and TIBC were measured and a CBC test was done for each subject. The results showed that the mean total calorie intake of women was 2049.79±735.12 kcal, where their iron intake was 22.33±9.24 mg day-1. There was a significant difference between the iron intake of basketball and volleyball players (p = 0.036). Of our subjects, 33.33% had low ferritin levels (<30 ng mL-1) and it was lowest in handball players. Higher than normal ferritin levels were seen in 12.5% of the subjects. We saw a significant difference in ferritin levels of basketball and handball players (p = 0.047). We conclude that the intake of calorie and iron is low in female athletes and therefore, their hematological indices such as ferritin level are below standard values.

ASCI-ID: 1-5297

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