Blood Res 2018; 53(1): 18-24
Reference values for serum ferritin and percentage of transferrin saturation in Korean children and adolescents
Hea Lin Oh, Jun Ah Lee, Dong Ho Kim, and Jung Sub Lim*

Department of Pediatrics, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

Correspondence to: Jung Sub Lim, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Pediatrics, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, 75 Nowon-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul 01812, Korea.
Received: June 14, 2017; Revised: July 13, 2017; Accepted: September 1, 2017; Published online: March 31, 2018.
© The Korean Journal of Hematology. All rights reserved.

cc This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ferritin reference values vary by age, gender, and ethnicity. We aimed to determine reference values of serum ferritin (SF) and the percentage of transferrin saturation (TSAT) for Korean children and adolescents.


We analyzed data from 2,487 participants (1,311 males and 1,176 females) aged 10?20 years from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010?2012). We calculated age- and gender-stratified means and percentile values for SF and TSAT.


We first plotted mean SF and TSAT by gender and according to age. In males, mean SF tended to be relatively constant among participants aged 10 to 14 years, with an upward trend thereafter. Mean SF trended downward among female participants until the age of 15 years and remained constant thereafter. Thus, significant gender differences in ferritin exist from the age of 14 years. High levels of SF were associated with obesity, and lower SF levels were associated with anemia and menarche status.


We established reference values of SF and TSAT according to age and gender. The reference values for SF calculated in this study can be used to test the association between SF values and other defined diseases in Korean children and adolescents.

Keywords: Ferritin, Adolescent, Child, Reference values, Korea, Transferrin


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