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The association of iron status with educational performance and intelligence among adolescents

Authors:

DS Dissanayake ,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
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PVR Kumarasiri,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
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DB Nugegoda,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK
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DM Dissanayake

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

Introduction The aim was to identify the association of iron status with educational performance and intelligence of adolescents.
Method This was a cross sectional comparative study among adolescents aged 13-15 years. Each iron deficient student was matched with an iron sufficient student from the same school, class and sex. Iron status was based on haemoglobin and serum ferritin levels. The marks for mathematics, science, Sinhala language and social science were considered to assess educational performance. Intelligence was measured by Raven's Standard progressive matrices. All the possible confounders and effect modifiers were considered. Home visits to a sub-sample checked the quality of data.
Results The final analysis included 188 students (94 matched pairs). Neither educational performance nor intelligence showed significant associations with the iron status. The severity of the iron deficiency did not relate to these cognitive variables either. Twenty-three and 8 covariables showed statistically significant associations with educational performance and intelligence respectively. Following a multiple regression analysis intelligence, the enthusiasm of the student towards learning, occupational ambition, household possession, problems at home and private tuition for mathematics were key factors predicting educational performance. Stunting and educational level of the mother were important factors influencing intelligence.
Conclusion Iron status does not play a major role in educational performance and intelligence of school going adolescents. Several factors affect educational performance and intelligence. This study highlights the difficulty in extrapolating the findings of similar studies to different ecological settings.  

Key words: iron status; anaemia; school performance; IQ

DOI: 10.4038/cmj.v54i3.1199

Ceylon Medical Journal Vol.54(3) 2009 75-79

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v54i3.1199
How to Cite: Dissanayake, D., Kumarasiri, P., Nugegoda, D. and Dissanayake, D., 2009. The association of iron status with educational performance and intelligence among adolescents. Ceylon Medical Journal, 54(3), pp.75–79. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v54i3.1199
Published on 13 Oct 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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