oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Haemopoietic substances in bantu diets with special reference to iron

Volume 13, Issue 12
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



(1) An account is given of a survey of 72 Bantu diets in the Northern and Luapula Provinces of Zambia. (2) Calorie intake varied from as low as 1,150 calories per day to as high as 2,000 calories per day, depending upon district and season of the year. A mean figure of about 1,600 calories per day was found overall. (3) The diets were found generally to be deficient in iron, most giving only between 7.5 and 9.5 mg. per day. Even allowing for dietary extras, this figure was unlikely to exceed 12.0 mg. per day. (4) Ascorbic acid and folic acid were also found to be low in these diets, although they probably gave adequate amounts of vitamin B12. (5) The dietary iron deficiency is suggested as an adequate cause for the high incidence of hypochromic anaemia among Bantu women, in view of their high daily requirements. (6) Health education in the schools is suggested as one way in which this might be combated.

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