Objectives: To provide reference values for haematological indices in Spanish adolescents according to age and gender.
Methods: A cross sectional study conducted in five Spanish cities was performed. Blood was drawn from a representative sample of 581 adolescents with age ranging from 13 to 17–18.5 yr. Age- and gender-specific means, standard deviations and percentiles were determined for the following parameters: total red blood cell counts (RBC), haemoglobin concentration (Hb), haematocrit percentage (Hct), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, red cell distribution width and total white blood cell (WBC) counts as well as counts and percentage of neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils and basophils; platelet count (PLT), mean platelet volume and plateletcrit percentage.
Results: Younger male subjects presented lower RBC, Hb, Hct and MCV means that their older counterpart. By contrast these differences were not observed in female subjects. As expected, RBC, Hb and Hct mean values in males were found significantly higher than in girls for all studied age groups. No significant differences were observed in WBC by age and gender. PLT values gradually decreased with age, except for females aged 17–18.5 yr.
Conclusion: The present study provides reference data on the distribution of haematological indices of Spanish adolescents. These data can be useful biomarkers of the nutritional status in adolescents.