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 Iron Deficiency Anemia is a Concern in Infants and Young Children1

Iron Deficiency Anemia is a Concern in Infants and Young Children

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Did you know the role Iron plays in the health of your baby? Iron is an important nutrient needed for the normal growth and development of infants and young children.

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Low levels of iron in the blood lead to iron deficiency anemia!

Iron deficiency is common in infants and young children in India, and is a major public health problem.In India, 80% of children in the age group of 6-23 months suffer from anemia, a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin (a protein that binds to iron and carries oxygen to various body cells).Additionally, among children aged 6-35 months, 72.2% of those residing in urban India and 80.9% of those residing in rural India have anemia.Evidence indicates that iron deficiency is the major cause of anemia in all age groups.

What are the factors influencing iron levels in infants?

  • Iron levels during pregnancy influence the iron levels of the baby: If you had iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy, then your baby is likely to have low iron levels too.
  • Your baby’s time of birth: If your baby was born prematurely, i.e. before 37 weeks of pregnancy, then he/she may be at risk for iron deficiency.
  • Inadequate complementary feeding practices: Along with breast milk, adequate complementary feeding should be started after 6 months. Breast milk alone may not be able to meet the iron requirements of your baby after 6 months. Consequently, due to a lack of iron-rich complementary foods, your baby can become iron deficient.
  • Lack of clean environment: Certain types of infestation of the intestine are a known cause of iron deficiency in infants. If your house or surroundings are not kept clean, it can lead to infestations in your baby. Infestations may in turn cause your little one to become iron deficient.

Therefore make sure to give your baby nutritious, healthy and adequate food. Also, remember to keep your house and surroundings neat and clean.

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