Last reviewed 05/2020

Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world

  • it affects a large number of children and women in the non industrialised countries and is the only nutrient deficiency to have a significant affect in nearly all the industrialised countries (1)

Iron deficiency anaemia is estimated to affect

  • 2-5% of adult males and post menopausal women and 10% pre-menopausal women in the developed world (2).
    • it is the most common cause of referral to gastroenterologists - 4-13% of referrals

  • between 40 and 50% women and children and 30% of men in the developing world (2)

An estimated 3% of men and 8% of women in the UK have iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) (2).


  • 1. World Health Organization (WHO) 2001. Iron Deficiency Anaemia. Assessment, Prevention and Control. A guide for programme managers
  • 2. The British Society for Haematology (BSH). The Global Impact of Haematology: Major Challenges Facing the Developed and Developing Worlds