1Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sciences Complex, University of Sunderland, England, UK
2Herbal Solutions, UK
3Independent Nutrition Researcher, The Rectory, Gwernesney, UK
*Corresponding author: Mike Wakeman, Clinical Pharmacist, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sciences Complex, University of Sunderland, Sunderland SR1 3SD, England, UK
Received Date: 10 March, 2020; Accepted Date: 05 June, 2020; Published Date: 10 June, 2020
Background: Women face unique health challenges across their lifespan. Nutrition plays a key role in meeting these health challenges. This paper identifies micronutrient intakes and weight, health and health risks for females in the UK from 11-65 plus and to evaluate associations between nutrient intakes and health.
Methods: Micronutrient intakes for women are calculated from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (NDNS-RP) and weight and health status from the Health Survey for England (HSE) 2018.
Results: Few women achieve recommended nutrient intakes across the lifespan. Intakes for several nutrients in women have fallen over the 9 years of the NDNS-RP. A significant proportion of women of all ages had micronutrient intakes below the Lower Reference Intake (LRNI) for vitamin A, riboflavin, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, selenium and zinc. Blood and serum levels of folate fell below WHO cut off points in up to 90 per cent of women of reproductive age and a significant proportion of women have blood levels of vitamin D below the recommended threshold. Intake of oily fish, the major source of long chain-omega-3 fatty acids is well below recommended intakes. Only 4 per cent of adult women and 2 per cent of teenage girls achieve recommended fibre intakes. More than two thirds of women are overweight or obese, 7 per cent have diabetes, 69 per cent of 45-54 year old women have raised cholesterol, 22 percent of 17-19 year old women have poor mental health, 22 per cent of women have osteoporosis and 618,576 women in the UK have dementia.
Conclusions: These low levels of micronutrients are associated with the many health challenges faced by women: bone health, brain health, cardiovascular health, digestive health, eye health, immune function, reproductive health. Intakes of micronutrients should achieve recommended levels, but current diets are creating a nutrient gap. Whilst diets should be improved, a supplement containing recommended intakes of all micronutrients as well as omega-3 fatty acids should be recommended. This includes 10 micrograms of vitamin D and for women during their reproductive years, 400 micrograms folic acid.
Women; Health; Diet; Nutrition; Micronutrient