Iron deficiency anaemia causes a chronic form of morbidity which affects work capacity and general vigour.
More than 2.2 billion people globally are deficient in iron, most of them women and children. Most are in developing countries, but the total includes 14 million in the USA (the CDC estimates that 1 out of every 10 women) and an estimated one million in Australia. Half the women in developing countries are anaemic. The body's iron reserves may be chronically depleted by repeated close pregnancies, especially in women who eat little or no red meat.
The learning capacity of mildly iron-deficient girls shows an improvement with iron supplements.