Who is affected by iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency is the leading nutritional deficiency in the world and the most common cause of anemia. It is more common in developing countries, affecting from 30% to 70% of the population, and it affects about 20% of those in industrialized countries. In the United States, about 1% of adult men and 2% to 5% of adult women have an iron deficiency severe enough to cause anemia.1

Iron deficiency can develop in people of either gender and any age. But in the United States, iron deficiency is most common in children and in women of childbearing age. Iron deficiency is also higher among the very poor. Because of blood loss during menstruation and the demands placed on iron stores by pregnancy, women are more likely than men to develop iron deficiency anemia.


  1. Andrews NC (2009). Iron deficiency and related disorders. In JP Greer et al., eds., Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology, 12th ed., vol. 1, pp. 810–834. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Last Updated: April 24, 2009

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