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A haemoglobinometer is used to measure the level of haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is the part of the blood responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. It is essential for a healthy diet. In the 1940s, the haemoglobin or iron content of the blood was used to estimate levels of malnutrition. This example was used by the Department of Health and Social Security, a British government department. A sample of the blood was taken, chemically treated and then compared to a colour index.

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Glossary: haemoglobin

a substance contained within the red blood cells and responsible for their colour, a protein made from iron and responsible for carrying oxygen around the body

Glossary: haemoglobinometer

an instrument for determining the concentration of haemoglobin in a sample of blood, which is a measure of its ability to carry oxygen.