Background: Iron deficiency (ID) impairs patient physical activity, recognition and life quality, which is difficult to perceive but should not be underestimated. Worldwide efforts have been made to lower ID burden, however, whether it decreased equally in different regions and sexes is unclear. This study is to examine regional and sex inequalities in global ID from 1990 to 2017.
Methods: We conducted a longitudinal, comparative burden-of-disease study. Disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) of ID were obtained from Global Burden of Disease Report 2017. Human Development Index (HDI) data were obtained from Human Development Report 2017. Gini coefficient and the concentration index were calculated to assess the equities in global burden of ID.
Results: A downward trend of global ID burden (from 569.3 (95% Uncertainty Interval [UI]: 387.8-815.6) to 403.0 (95% UI: 272.4-586.6), p < 0.001), age-adjusted DALYs per 100,000 population) but an uptrend of its inequalities (from 0.366 to 0.431, p < 0.001, Gini coefficients) was observed between 1990 and 2017. ID burden was heavier in women than that in men ([age-adjusted DALYs per 100,000 population from 742.2 to 514.3] vs [from 398.5 to 291.9]), but its inequalities were higher in men since 1990. The between-sex gap of ID burden was narrowed with higher HDI (β = - 364.11, p < 0.001). East Asia & Pacific and South Asia regions made a big stride for ID control in both sexes over decades [age-adjusted DALYs per 100,000 population from 378.7 (95% UI: 255.8-551.7) in 1990 to 138.9 (95%UI: 91.8-206.5) in 2017], while a heavy burden among Sub-Saharan African men was persistent[age-adjusted DALYs per 100,000 population, 572.5 (95% UI: 385.3-815) in 1990 and 562.6 (95% UI: 367.9-833.3) in 2017].
Conclusions: Redistributing attention and resources to help countries with low HDI, especially take care of women with low socioeconomic status (SES) and men under high ID burden may help hold back the expanding ID inequality.
Keywords: Equality; Global burden of disease; Iron deficiency; Micronutrient deficiency; Sex difference; Socioeconomic status.
© 2022. The Author(s).