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Comparing serum ferritin values from different population surveys
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    "Evaluating and monitoring the iron status of the U.S. population is an important goal of the nutrition component of the various Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (HANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The ability to perform this function has been enhanced with the addition of serum ferritin (SF) measurements in the three HANES surveys conducted since 1976: The second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II), conducted in 1976-S0; the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES), conducted in 1982-84; and the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which began in 19S8 and will be completed in 1994. Preliminary analyses were done to compare iron status of Hispanic persons tested in HHANES (1982-84) with that of non-Hispanic white and Hispanic persons tested in NHANES II (1976-S0). The SF values were found to be higher for Hispanic persons from HHANES than for either non-Hispanic white or Hispanic persons from NHANES II, especially among males. In the present study, the serum ferritin distributions from the hvo surveys were compared by age, sex, and ethnic group to determine whether the difference in SF values noted for males was present in other age-sex groups. In addition, SF data from three pilot studies conducted for NHANES III were examined. Other relevant variables related to iron status, liver function, and socioeconomic status were compared to explore the basis for the SF differences among the surveys. An understanding of the difference between the SF distributions found in NHANES II and HHANES is important, as SF data from HANES are used to monitor iron status in the United States and to generate reference data for different population subgroups. More generally, the study illustrates factors that need to be considered in comparing SF values obtained from different surveys and suggests ways to reduce these problems in future studies." - p. 1

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