Relationships between iron status and academic performance / by Tony Valente
Valente, Tony B.
SubjectIron deficiency anemia in adolescents
Cognition in adolescence - Health aspects
Academic achievement - Health aspects
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Adolescent females are susceptible to iron deficiency. Iron may be linked to cognition based on its contribution to central nervous system function. Effects of iron deficiency may be reflected in academic performance as measured by grades. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an association existed between iron status and academic performance. Participants were 14- to 16-year-old healthy female students in the 10th grade. Relationships between academic performance, vitamin B12 and albumin were also examined. Blood parameters for 71 participants included: serum ferritin, hemoglobin (Hb), vitamin B12, and albumin. Academic performance was assessed by school grades and included the following measures: Overall average, plus individual scores in, Math, Science, Physical Education, and English. The prevalence of iron deficiency (serum ferritin <= 20 µg/L) in the sample was 58%. One participant was iron deficient anemic (Hb < 120 g/L). Two participants were deficient in vitamin B12 (≤ 150 pmol/L). No participants displayed low albumin levels (< 35 g/L). In a bivariate correlation, serum ferritin was negatively correlated (p < 0.05) with Grade Average and English. There was no relationship betweenv itamin B12 and academic performance. Albumin was correlated (p < 0.05) with Grade Average, Physical Education, and English, and was a significant predictor of grades in multivariate analysis (p < 0.05). Between subject t-tests revealed no significant difference in grades between those who were iron deficient and those who were not. It was concluded that the presence of serum ferritin below 20 µg/L does not pose a significant hazard to scholastic achievement.