Iron intake among Lebanese women: sociodemographic factors, iron-rich dietary patterns, and preparation of hummus, a Mediterranean dish

  • Nour Doumani Department of Biology, Nutrition & Dietetics, Faculty of Sciences II, Lebanese University, Fanar, Lebanon
  • Jacqueline Maalouly Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences II, Lebanese University, Fanar, Lebanon
  • Elias Bou-Maroun UMR PAM Food and Microbiological Processes, University of Burgundy Franche Comté/AgroSup Dijon, Dijon, France
  • Nicolas Sok UMR PAM Food and Microbiological Processes, University of Burgundy Franche Comté/AgroSup Dijon, Dijon, France
  • Philippe Cayot UMR PAM Food and Microbiological Processes, University of Burgundy Franche Comté/AgroSup Dijon, Dijon, France
  • Maya Tueni Department of Biology, Nutrition & Dietetics, Faculty of Sciences II, Lebanese University, Fanar, Lebanon
Keywords: micronutrient intake deficiency, plant-based food, non-heme iron, Mediterranean and middle-eastern countries, iron bioavailability


Background: Plant-based foods such as hummus are alternative to animal protein, and when properly prepared, they help to alleviate nutritional iron deficiency that leads to anemia, a global health problem.

Objective: The objective was to assess iron intake among Lebanese women and related participant’s characteristics, discern iron-rich dietary patterns, evaluate their association with nutrients intake and participant’s sociodemographic characteristics, and identify the women preparing hummus traditionally and properly for an enhanced iron bioavailability.

Design: A cross-sectional study of 400 Lebanese women (18–74 years old) was conducted in Lebanon. Data from a questionnaire, including sociodemographic and health characteristics, dietary intake, and hummus preparation and consumption, were collected. Dietary data were obtained by a food frequency questionnaire and a 24-h recall. Dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis. Linear regression and binomial logistic regression models were used to explore the association between the intake of dietary iron, its patterns, and the participants’ characteristics.

Results: About 60% of the women had iron intake deficiency, especially with lower income (odds ratio [OR] = 1.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.107, 3.194). Four iron-rich dietary patterns were identified: legumes; organ/lunch meat and chicken; canned fish; and beef and hummus. The factor scores of the latter were positively correlated with protein, vitamin C, iron, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin A with r = 0.195 and P < 0.01 for all. No significant difference was shown among the women’s sociodemographic characteristics for the consumption of the hummus-related pattern. Only 9.2 and 22.7% of the women considered proper preparation of chickpea and hummus, respectively, which significantly (P < 0.05) correlated with older women (66.7%).

Discussion & Conclusion: The majority of the Lebanese women still have iron intake deficiency and the minority reported proper preparation of hummus. Intervention programs spreading awareness among Lebanese women are needed for encouraging adequate iron intake and considering proper steps to improve iron bioavailability from plant-based food.


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How to Cite
Doumani N., Maalouly J., Bou-Maroun E., Sok N., Cayot P., & Tueni M. (2021). Iron intake among Lebanese women: sociodemographic factors, iron-rich dietary patterns, and preparation of hummus, a Mediterranean dish. Food & Nutrition Research, 65.
Original Articles