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Award for iron-boosting kiwifruit and cereal study

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Award for iron-boosting kiwifruit and cereal study

An investigation into whether kiwifruit in breakfast cereal could help women overcome iron deficiency has been given a $5000 grant by the New Horizon for Women Trust.

The author of a doctoral study, dietitian Kathryn Beck (pictured) and her supervisor, Dr Cath Conlon, from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health in Auckland, received one of two research grants awarded by the trust this week.

Ms Beck says lack of iron is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and young women are particularly at risk. "Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, decreased cognitive functioning and reduced work capacity,” she says.

The grant will enable her to more than double the number of participants in the survey, which is partly funded by Zespri International.

Eighty-nine participants with mild iron deficiency are being provided with a four-month breakfast programme combining cereal with different fruits to assess the impact on iron levels. The grant will enable Ms Beck to screen a further 150 women to take part in the study to identify those with low iron stores.

She says dietary intervention is the recommended first treatment for iron deficiency. This can include using iron rich foods or foods high in vitamin C such as kiwifruit, which increase the absorption of iron.

The Wellington-based trust was launched in 1992 to provide grants for women to develop their academic and research potential.


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