The number of Aussies affected by iron deficiency and anaemia has crept up over the last nine years, increasing from 861,000 sufferers in 2008 to 1,103,000 in 2016, according to data from the latest Medibank Better Health Index.
Young women aged 18-30 – who are typically among those worst affected – showed the biggest increase, with the number going from 13.4% in 2008 to 15.3% in 2016 – equivalent to a rise of 70,000 women. Women aged 30-39 also displayed a rise, shifting from 11.7% to 13.7% over the same time period – equivalent to an uplift of 55,000 women.
Medibank Chief Medical Officer Dr Linda Swan said “We know that compared to men, women are typically worst affected by iron deficiency and anaemia – with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause contributing to an increased requirement for the mineral.
“However, while we’d expect to see women reporting a higher incidence, what’s concerning is that the number of women affected is increasing over time. There are many reasons why this could be – for example, with the emergence of new diet trends over recent years, it may be that young Aussie women are reducing the amount of iron rich foods such as red meat in their diet – putting them at higher risk.”