The association between iron deficiency anemia and cognitive abilities among female university students
More details
Hide details
Department of Clinical Nutrition, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, SAUDI ARABIA
Family and Community Medicine Center, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, SAUDI ARABIA
University Counseling Center, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, SAUDI ARABIA
Publication date: 2024-03-14
Electron J Gen Med 2024;21(2):em576
Iron deficiency is a serious condition occurring when the human body’s total iron is less than the normal amount (three-four g). This study aimed to find the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and its association with cognitive abilities among female students. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 198 female students recruited using convenience sampling from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University.

Materials & methods:
A food frequency questionnaire and cognitive abilities tests were used to collect the required information.

The results showed that the prevalence of IDA was 27.4%. The cognitive abilities parameters of immediate memory, working memory, speed of attention, and accuracy of attention for 50.0% of the students were 24, 16, 194, and three, respectively.

No significant association between IDA and cognitive abilities was noted. Therefore, more studies are needed to explore the association between iron-supplemented diet and cognitive function.

Al-Naseem A, Sallam A, Choudhury S, Thachil J. Iron deficiency without anaemia: A diagnosis that matters. Clin Med (Lond). 2021;21(2):107-13. https://doi.org/10.7861/clinme... PMid:33762368 PMCid:PMC8002799.
Pivina L, Semenova Y, Doşa MD, Dauletyarova M, Bjorklund G. Iron deficiency, cognitive functions, and neurobehavioral disorders in children. J Mol Neurosci. 2019;68(1):1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12031... PMid:30778834.
Kumar A, Sharma E, Marley A, Samaan MA, Brookes MJ. Iron deficiency anaemia: Pathophysiology, assessment, practical management. BMJ Open Gastroenterol. 2022;9(1): e000759. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgas... PMid:34996762 PMCid:PMC8744124.
Owaidah T, Al-Numair N, Al-Suliman A, et al. Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are common epidemiological conditions in Saudi Arabia: Report of the national epidemiological survey. Anemia. 2020;2020:6642568. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/6... PMid:33936813 PMCid:PMC8056870.
Al Hassan NN. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in a Saudi university female student. J Microsc Ultrastruct. 2015;3(1):25-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmau... PMid:30023178 PMCid:PMC6014218.
Alshehri AA, Albahli OM, Alturki AM, Alwasaidi TA, Alfairs NF. Correlation of anemia due to poor iron status with obesity at King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Cureus. 2024;16(1):e52424. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus....
Hu Y, Mao Y, Wang W. Relationship between anemia and academic performance in Chinese primary school students: Evidence from a large national survey. Health Soc Care Community. 2024;2024(1):1-13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2024/1....
More S, Shivkumar VB, Gangane N, Shende S. Effects of iron deficiency on cognitive function in school going adolescent females in rural area of central India. Anemia. 2013;2013:819136. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/8... PMid:24386560 PMCid:PMC3872396.
Jullien S. Screening of iron deficiency anaemia in early childhood. BMC Pediatr. 2021;21(Suppl 1):337. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887... PMid:34496786 PMCid:PMC8424788.
McMillen SA, Dean R, Dihardja E, Ji P, Lönnerdal B. Benefits and risks of early life iron supplementation. Nutrients. 2022;14(20):4380. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu1420... PMid:36297062 PMCid:PMC9608469.
Chen Z, Yang H, Wang D, et al. Effect of oral iron supplementation on cognitive function among children and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2022;14(24):5332. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu1424... PMid:36558491 PMCid:PMC9783508.
Oztorun HS, Cinar E, Turgut T, et al. The impact of treatment for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on nutritional status, physical performance, and cognitive function in geriatric patients. Eur Geriatr Med. 2018; 9(4):493-500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41999... PMid:34674483.
Sawyer SM, Azzopardi PS, Wickremarathne D, Patton GC. The age of adolescence. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2018;2(3):223-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-... PMid:30169257.
Weir CB, Jan A. BMI classification percentile and cut off points. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024.
NIH. Iron: Fact sheet for health professionals. National Institute of Health; 2019. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factshe... (Accessed: 18 November 2019).
Millis SR, Malina AC, Bowers DA, Ricker JH. Confirmatory factor analysis of the Wechsler memory scale-III. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1999;21(1):87-93. https://doi.org/10.1076/jcen.2... PMid:10421004.
Taha IA. Differences in the efficiency of abstract thinking at different levels of attention [Master thesis]. Cairo (Egypt): University of Cairo; 1997.
Woods DL, Kishiyama MM, Lund EW, et al. Improving digit span assessment of short-term verbal memory. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2011;33(1):101-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/138033... PMid:20680884 PMCid:PMC2978794.
Pourhoseingholi MA, Vahedi M, Rahimzadeh M. Sample size calculation in medical studies. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2013;6(1), 14-7.
Goswmai S, Das KK. Socio-economic and demographic determinants of childhood anemia. J Pediatr. 2015; 91(5):471-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped... PMid:26070864.
Al-Alimi AA, Bashanfer S, Morish MA. Prevalence of iron deficiency anemia among university students in Hodeida Province, Yemen. Anemia. 2018;2018:4157876. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/4... PMid:29850236 PMCid:PMC5937585.
Althunibat OY, Saghir SAM, Aladaileh SH, Rawadieh A. The impact of weight loss diet programs on anemia, nutrient deficiencies, and organ dysfunction markers among university female students: A cross-sectional study. Electron J Gen Med. 2023;20(1):em436. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejgm/....
Al-Jamea L, Woodman A, Elnagi, E, et al. Prevalence of Iron-deficiency anemia and its associated risk factors in female undergraduate students at prince sultan military college of health sciences. J Appl Hematol. 2019;10(4):126. https://doi.org/10.4103/joah.j....
Kumari R, Bharti RK, Singh K, et al. Prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in adolescent girls in a tertiary care hospital. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017;11(8): BC04-6. https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2... PMid:28969109 PMCid:PMC5620749.
Hakami W, Dobie G, Alneami KA, et al. Assessing nutritional anemia among university students in Jazan, Saudi Arabia: A public health perspective. J Blood Med. 2024;15:51-60. https://doi.org/10.2147/JBM.S4... PMid:38352049 PMCid:PMC10863464.
Almasmoum HA, Iqbal M, Aljaadi A, et al. Prevalence of undiagnosed iron deficiency anemia and associated factors among female undergraduate medical students in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Cureus. 2023;15(12):e50046. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus... PMid:38186469 PMCid:PMC10768742.
Sheikh AD, Babienko V, Kobolev E. Influence of latent iron deficiency on cognitive abilities in students. J Educ Health Sport. 2022;12(1):117-24. https://doi.org/10.12775/JEHS.....
Ji X, Cui N, Liu J. Neurocognitive function is associated with serum iron status in early adolescents. Biol Res Nurs. 2017; 19(3):269-77. https://doi.org/10.1177/109980... PMid:28196427 PMCid:PMC5675069.
Alexeev EE, He X, Slupsky CM, Lönnerdal B. Effects of iron supplementation on growth, gut microbiota, metabolomics and cognitive development of rat pups. PLoS One. 2017;12(6):e0179713. https://doi.org/10.1371/journa... PMid:28662197 PMCid:PMC5491036.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top