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This investigation evaluated the iron and nutritional status of 12 highly trained aerobic dance instructors who did not take iron supplements (ANS) and 8 who did (AS). A control group (C) consisted of 10 age matched controls. The aerobic instructors had exercised for approximately 3.8 days/wk, 56 min/session for the past 7 yrs. There were no significant differences among groups for energy intake, carbohydrate, protein, fat, nonheme iron, heme iron, or total iron intake (excluding supplemental iron). But both exercise groups had lower ferritin values than the control group. There was also a significant difference in mean cell volume (MCV), with both exercise groups having greater values than the control group. There were no differences among groups for serum iron, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, hematocrit, or hemoglobin. One in three aerobic dance instructors had serum ferritin values below 12 μg · L−1. Results indicate that women exercise leaders have iron profiles that are similar to other groups of female athletes. The increased MCV values suggest runners' macrocytosis or an exercise induced macrocytosis.

Williford, Scharff Olson, and Wang are with the Human Performance Laboratory, and Barksdale is with the Dept. of Medical Technology, Auburn Univ. at Montgomery, Montgomery, AL 36117. Keith is with the Dept. of Nutrition, and Blessing is with Health & Human Performance, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL 36849. Preston is with the State Health Laboratory at Montgomery. Request reprints from H.N. Williford.