Concurrent Micronutrient Deficiencies Are Low and Micronutrient Status Is Not Related to Common Health Indicators in Ghanaian Women Expecting to Become Pregnant

Alison D. Gernand, Sixtus Aguree, Ruth Pobee, Esi K. Colecraft, Laura E. Murray-Kolb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Micronutrients are important for reproductive health and pregnancy, but the status of multiple vitamins and minerals is rarely measured in women before pregnancy. Objectives: We aimed to assess the status and concurrent deficiencies of micronutrients among women before pregnancy and their relation with common health indicators. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that recruited women who expected to become pregnant within the next 6 mo in Asesewa, Ghana, a semi-urban community. Women self-reported demographics and health history. We measured blood pressure, height, and weight and conducted a blood draw and hemoglobin assessment (n = 98). We measured serum/plasma concentrations of ferritin, iron, total iron binding capacity, zinc, copper, retinol, and 25-hydroxyVitamin D, in addition to markers of inflammation. We used established cutoffs for deficiency and insufficiency/low status for each micronutrient after adjusting ferritin, zinc, and retinol for inflammation. We compared biomarker distributions by common health indicators. Results: Forty percent of women had overweight/obesity, 33% were anemic, and 23% had elevated blood pressure. Overall, 27% had ≥1 deficiencies, whereas only 4% had 2 deficiencies. Fifty-eight percent of women had ≥1 insufficiencies and 18% had ≥2 insufficiencies. Prevalence of individual deficiencies was 12%, 7%, 7%, 4%, and 0% and prevalence of individual insufficiencies was 18%, 12%, 29%, 13%, and 13% for iron, copper, Vitamin A, zinc, and Vitamin D, respectively. Iron biomarkers and retinol concentrations differed by anemia status, and copper was higher in those with elevated blood pressure. Micronutrient concentrations were not associated with self-reported medical history (parity or history of anemia, malaria, or night blindness). Conclusions: In Asesewa, Ghana, there was a relatively low prevalence of individual micronutrient deficiencies, but the majority of women were insufficient in =1 micronutrients. Iron and Vitamin A status was lower in those with anemia, but otherwise, micronutrient status did not relate to common health markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzz053
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 8 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Concurrent Micronutrient Deficiencies Are Low and Micronutrient Status Is Not Related to Common Health Indicators in Ghanaian Women Expecting to Become Pregnant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this