Iron deficiency anemia is the most widespread nutritional deficiency in the United States; it affects 3.3 million women and is associated with preterm births, low birth weight babies, and cognitive delays in infant and child development. Many young women are rarely screened for iron deficiency anemia, but plasma donors are routinely screened, affording an excellent opportunity to target an at-risk population seldom seen by primary health care providers. Many of these donors are economically disadvantaged young adults. The purpose of this program was to improve the knowledge, diets, and subsequently the hematocrits of young women who cannot give plasma due to low hematocrits. An educational intervention was piloted. The results were an improvement in hematocrit levels and dietary consumption of iron, but no gain in dietary knowledge. This unique, cost-effective health promotion program targets young women before they become pregnant to address the problem of diets low in iron.
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