Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS)

Serum ferritin concentrations for the assessment of iron status and iron deficiency in populations

World Health Organization

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 5
Publication date: 2011
Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
WHO reference number: WHO/NMH/NHD/MNM/11.2



This document aims to provide users of the Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System (VMNIS) with information about the use of serum ferritin for assessing iron status in populations. It is a compilation of the current World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on the topic, and summarizes the cut-offs for describing iron stores and the chronology of their establishment.

Ferritin measurements and corresponding cut-offs facilitate the monitoring of iron deficiency trends and the assessment of the impact of health and nutrition interventions. Such assessments allow measurements of progress towards international goals to prevent and control iron deficiency and provide the basis for advocacy programmes for iron deficiency and anaemia prevention in vulnerable populations.