Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Food and Nutrition


Previous literature reports have suggested that body iron reserves, especially in women, decrease as a result of aerobic training. Therefore, the effect of a moderate 9-week aerobic training program on selected measures of iron status of untrained women (n = 20) age 22-45 yrs was studied. Conditioning consisted of intervals of walking/jogging (up to an average of 1.8 miles/session by week 9) interspersed with calisthenics. Pre- and post-conditioning comparisons indicated that significant improvements occurred in selected physical fitness indicators. Body composition shifted towards decreased muscle mass, even in the absence of changes in body weight; trunk forward flexion improved; and resting and post-submaximal exercise heart rates decreased. Resting blood pressure did not change. Hemoglobin (hgb), red blood cell (RBC), and free erythrocyte porphyrin (FEP) concentrations, as well as hematocrit, mean cell hgb (MCH), and MCH concentrations (MCHC), were determined during weeks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Mean values for all blood indices were initially within ranges considered to be normal and showed no significant change throughout the study. Analysis of food intake records indicated that the mean daily food iron intake was 10.1 mg, a relatively large percentage (16%) of which was available for absorption. The results suggest that although the moderate physical conditioning program was sufficient to favorably influence many fitness indices in the previously untrained subjects, it was not severe enough to adversely affect RBC iron status, and iron supplies for erythropoiesis were adequate;A modified micromethod for FEP determination is described and proposed standards for interpreting FEP values with regard to iron status are discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Mary Louise Meck Higgins



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104 pages