Nutrition

Sponsored symposium: Use of ferritin concentrations to assess iron status in populations. Evidence to inform WHO guidelines

In collaboration with the International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control (IMMPaCt) Programme, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 June 2014
Micronutrient Forum Global Conference
Location: United Nations Conference Center (19:00 – 20:30, Room CC 11)

Scope and purpose

Indicators to assess iron status in populations are important for determining the magnitude and distribution of iron deficiency as a public health problem, for choosing the most appropriate intervention, and for monitoring and evaluating the impact of implemented public health programmes. The assessment of iron status is not precise, since proteins reflect the status of different compartments in the body. As these biomarkers are affected by other conditions such as age, sex, disease, smoking, infection and inflammation, it may be difficult to identify a unique indicator of iron status.

A review on determinants of iron status in populations is underway along with a protocol for retrieving, summarizing and assessing the evidence to inform WHO recommendations on the use and interpretation of serum/plasma ferritin for assessing iron status in populations. From the finalized master protocol, various protocols are now in preparation, using the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy protocols methodology.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from the United States of America are convening this session within the Micronutrient Forum Global Conference. The overall objectives of this session are to:

  • Describe the WHO process for developing guidelines for iron indicators including the retrieval, summarizing and assessing the evidence on:
    • Serum/plasma ferritin for assessing iron status in populations
    • The accuracy and comparability of methods for measuring ferritin concentration
    • The distribution of serum/plasma ferritin concentrations in normal populations
    • The distribution of serum/plasma/erythrocyte concentrations in populations with inflammation of various origins and severity and their usefulness for assessing iron status
  • Discuss the challenges of using the WHO approach for guidelines development of iron status indicators

Session chairs

  • Dr Francesco Branca, Director, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Dr Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States of America

Presenters

19:00   WHO evidence-informed guideline development process for screening and diagnostic tests in nutrition. Dr Lisa Rogers, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

19:20   Use of serum ferritin for determining and understanding the magnitude and distribution of iron deficiency as a public health problem. Dr Zuguo Mei, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States of America

19:40   Approaches to address the effects of inflammation on ferritin concentrations in population-based surveys. Dr Parmi Suchdev, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, United States of America

20:00   Challenges of using the WHO approach for guidelines development of iron status indicators. Dr Maria Nieves Garcia-Casal, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

20:20   Discussion

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