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Iron Supports Growth and Development in Young Children

Iron Supports Growth and Development in Young Children

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Iron is important for the physical well-being and normal growth and development of your baby. During the first 6 months of life, the iron requirements of your baby are met from the iron available from breast milk and his/her iron stores. However, after six months, your baby will require iron-rich foods since breast milk alone may not provide sufficient amounts of iron to meet his/her requirements. Also, your baby grows rapidly during the first year. Therefore, make sure that you provide him/her with iron-rich foods during this period. 1

Monday, February 27th, 2017

What role does iron play in the growth and development of your baby?

Iron:

  • Stimulates growth of body cells 1
  • Supports the process of carrying oxygen by red blood cells 2
  • Helps normal growth and functioning of the brain 2
  • Helps support the normal development of the immune system3

What are the consequences of iron deficiency?

  • If your baby becomes iron deficient, then he/she can develop iron deficiency anemia, a condition characterized by low hemoglobin content1
  • If your baby is not treated for anemia, then he/she may have delayed psychomotor and cognitive development that may result in learning problems1
  • Your baby’s normal growth and development may be affected4
  • Your baby may even develop behavioral problems like social withdrawal1

Hence, make a healthy choice that once your child reaches 6 months of age, the complementary food you give has adequate iron content. This way, you will make a healthy and safe choice for your little one’s future.

References

  1. Iron dietary Supplement Fact sheet, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
  2. Your guide to anaemia. US department of health and human services. National institutes of health. 2011.
  3. Kumar V, Choudhry VP. Iron deficiency and infection. Indian J Pediatr. 2010; 77 (7) : 789-793.
  4. Guidelines for Control of Iron Deficiency Anemia, National Iron Initiative – towards infinite potential in anaemia free India. Adolescent Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

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