Lucky Iron Fish @ St. Joseph's Hospitality Centre

Anemia or low iron decreases the ability for our blood to store and deliver oxygen throughout our body.  Anemia can have an overall affect on the energy levels of a person, leaving them feeling weak, tired, and have difficulty concentrating.  This can impact their ability to function at home, work, or school since they may not have the energy or concentration to sustain work or studying. 

Anemia is much more common in low-income families than their higher earning counterparts.  Although the majority of Canadians are not anemic, individuals in a low-income demographic have significantly lower iron because they typically do not have access to foods in their diet that are high in iron (iron that the body can use).  In the Old East Village of London, Ontario this problem may be compounded by the fact that St. Joseph's Hospitality Centre is located in a food desert making it difficult for people in the area to access healthy food options when not visiting the hospitality centre.

In this pilot project, St. Joseph's Hospitality Centre will be using the Lucky Iron Fish in various aspects of their cooking to improve the accessibility of iron in the diets of their patrons.  The Lucky Iron Fish is an initiative that was originally developed to help populations in low-income countries improves their iron levels and the overall health of the population.  Similarly in Canada we can support at risk populations through the use of the Lucky Iron Fish to increase iron in their diets.

In addition to supplementing elemental iron in the diet to improve iron levels in low-income populations, it can also support other at special populations such as injection drug users.  Increased incidences of anemia are also associated with HIV-positive individuals, and anemia can complicate hepatitis C treatment.  As a result, as a future direction we hope to partner with London and area services to distribute the Lucky Iron Fish for individual home use to support these individuals, so they may lead healthier lives.  As mentioned above, anemia can have an overall affect on the energy levels of a person, leaving them feeling weak, tired, and have difficulty concentrating.  This can impact their ability to function at home, work, or school. 

Resources:

Cooper M., Greene-Finestone L., Lowell H., Leveque J., Robinson S., (2012). Iron Sufficiency of Canadians. Statistics Canada Health Reports 82-003-x. 23(4) Accessible by: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2012004/article/11742-eng.htm

Dancheck B., Tang A.M., Thomas A.M., Smit E., Vlahov D., Semba R.D., (2005). Injection drug use is an independent risk factor for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia among HIV-serpositive and HIV-seronegative women. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 40(2):198-201.

Goswmai S., Das K.K., (2015).  Socio-economic and demographic determinants of childhood anemia.  Jornal de Pediatria (Rio J). doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2014.09.009

Semba R.D., (2003). Iron-deficiency anemia and the cycle of poverty among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-infected women in the inner city. Clinical Infectious Disease 37(Supplement 2) S105-S111. doi: 10.1086/375892

Semba R.D., Shah N., Strathdee S.A., Vlahov D., (2002) High prevalence of iron deficiency and anemia among female injection drug users with and without HIV infection.  Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 29(2):142-4. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200202010-00005

Skalicky A., Meyers A.F., Adams W.G., Yang Z., Cook J.T., Frank D.A., (2006). Child food insecurity and iron deficiency anemia in low-income infants and toddlers in the United States. Maternal Child Health Journal 10(2):177-85. doiL 10.1007/s10995-005-0036-0

Sulkowiski M.S., Shiffman M.L., Afdhal N.H., Reddy R.K., McCone J., Lee W.M., Herrine S.K., Harrison S.A., Poordad F.F., Koury K., Deng W., Noviello S., Pedicone L.D., Brass C.A., Albrecht J.K., McHutchison J.G., (2010). Hepatitis C Virus treatment-related anemia is associated with higher sustained virologic response rate. Gastroenterology 139(5):1602-11. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.07.059
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Cooking with the Lucky Iron Fish releases low levels of iron that are available for your body to use
to improve your bloods ability to carry iron.

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