11 September 2000
GPs dont realise iron value of beef

By FWi staff

ALMOST half the family doctors questioned in a new survey mistakenly thought that spinach is a richer source of iron than beef.

In a survey of 200 general practitioners only 44% correctly identified beef as the richest source of iron out of a list of foods.

Spinach was incorrectly identified by 49% of the GPs taking part in the survey by market researchers Taylor Nelson Sofres.

More encouraging for the livestock industry was the fact that 60% of the GPs correctly believed red meat has become lower in fat over the past 10 years.

This compares with a figure of 51% in 1998.

The survey also found that 99% of doctors realised that a high iron intake was especially important for pregnant women, babies (86%) and teenagers (80%).

And the study also revealed that 69% of GPs are giving dietary advice for general health, compared to 57% two years ago.

Meat and Livestock Commission research nutritionist Dr Breda Mulvihill was pleased with the results, but conceded health professionals still needed educating.