Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2019, Article ID 7631306, 13 pages
Review Article

Dietary Iron Intake in Women of Reproductive Age in Europe: A Review of 49 Studies from 29 Countries in the Period 1993–2015

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Næstved Hospital, University College Zealand, DK-4700 Næstved, Denmark

Correspondence should be addressed to Nils Thorm Milman; moc.kooltuo@namlim.slin

Received 7 January 2019; Revised 5 May 2019; Accepted 26 May 2019; Published 13 June 2019

Academic Editor: Luigi Schiavo

Copyright © 2019 Nils Thorm Milman. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Assessment of dietary iron intake in women of reproductive age in Europe. Design. Review. Setting. Literature search of dietary surveys reporting intake of iron using PubMed, Internet browsers, and national nutrient databases in the period 1993–2015. Subjects. Women of reproductive age. Results. 49 dietary surveys/studies in 29 European countries were included. Belgium, Bosnia, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom/England, and Wales reported a median/mean iron intake of 7.6–9.9 mg/day. Finland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain reported an intake of 10.0–10.7 mg/day. Austria, Estonia, France, and Russia reported an intake of 11.0–11.9 mg/day. Latvia and Germany reported an intake of 12.0–12.2 mg/day. Croatia, Lithuania, Portugal, and Slovakia reported an intake of 15.9–19.0 mg/day. The percentage of dietary iron consisting of heme iron, reported in 7 studies, varied from 4.3% in United Kingdom to 25% in Spain. Nutrient density for iron (mg iron/10 MJ, median/mean) varied from 11.8 in Sweden to 23.0 in Lithuania. The correlation between nutrient density and dietary iron was significant (). In most countries, the majority of women had a dietary iron intake below 15 mg/day. In Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden, 91–95% of women had an intake below 15 mg/day. In Ireland and Germany, 61–78% had an intake below 15 mg/day. Conclusions. In Europe, 61–97% of women have a dietary iron intake below 15 mg/day. This contributes to a low iron status in many women. We need common European standardized dietary methods, uniform dietary reference values, and uniform statistical methods to perform intercountry comparisons.