TO THE EDITOR:

The World Health Organization recently launched an initiative to revise its recommended hemoglobin (Hb) thresholds for the diagnosis and assessment of anemia.1,2  The physiological Hb range varies, depending on age, sex, ethnicity, genetic background, possible pregnancy, smoking habits, socioeconomic and nutritional status (including iron availability), and residential altitude. There are little data about whether modest increases in altitude below 2000 meters above sea level (masl) impact Hb concentration.4,5  This knowledge helps to determine a person’s health status and diagnose anemia. Here, we analyze the association between Hb and residential altitude in healthy young Swiss men living between 200 and 2000 masl.

We used data collected between 2010 and 2012 from young Swiss male conscripts (covering >90% of Swiss male birth cohorts as a result of mandatory conscription). The total cohort consisted of 110...

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