The prevalence of anaemia and mineral supplement use in a Swedish middle-aged population. Results from the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To describe dietary habits and use of mineral supplements in relation to nutrient recommendations and anaemia. Design: a population-based cohort study. Subjects: 2665 men and 3878 women, born between 1926 and 1945, randomly invited and participating in the prospective 'Malmo Diet and Cancer study' during 1991-1992. Methods: The diet was assessed using a combined 7-day menu book for hot meals, beverages and supplements and a quantitative food frequency questionnaire for other foods. Anaemia was defined as haemoglobin ≤131 g/l for men and ≤115 g/l for women. Results: Intake of mineral supplements were reported by 19% of the men and 31% of the women. Less than 0.2% had intakes of iron and selenium above highest recommended Swedish long-term intakes. The percentage of women with intake below nutrient recommendations were: zinc and selenium (60%); magnesium (35%); calcium (21%) and iron (70%, premenopausal). The corresponding values for men were: zinc, selenium and magnesium (33-47%); calcium and iron (5%). The median contribution of calcium from supplements was less than 110 mg. Supplement users had higher intakes of fish, fruits, vegetables and tea and lower intakes of coffee and meat. The iron intake was correlated to haemoglobin levels, and iron supplementation constituted about 45% of the intake. Three per cent of premenopausal women had anaemia as did less than 2% of postmenopausal women. Conclusion: A substantial number had mineral intake below present recommendations despite supplement use. The nutrient content of some supplements could be improved, especially calcium. Iron supplementation among postmenopausal women and men are questionable.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geriatrics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Calcium, Diet, Epidemiology, Iron, Minerals, Recommendations, Supplement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-455
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Jul
Publication categoryResearch