Meeting the iron needs of young children

In a world where iron is the most abundant element, 1.25 billion worldwide suffer from iron deficiency anemia, comprising 16% of the global population. Of these people many are young, with 43% of the world’s children suffering from iron deficiency.

A significant percentage of newborns have a low birth weight and are at high risk of iron deficiency, which brings with it various other poor health outcomes. These include a lower IQ, depression and diabetes among others. A mother’s iron stores provide 100% of a baby’s iron from conception until the age of six months, meaning the nutrition of the mother plays a crucial role in the iron levels of the child.

A delayed umbilical cord clamping and increased iron intake at birth can improve long-term health outcomes, as can maintaining higher standards of hygiene, as anemia can be triggered by the body fighting infection.

Improvements in diet later in life to include iron-rich and iron-fortified foods as well as supplements can help to correct anemia, but cannot always redress the impairments to cognitive development that may by then already have taken place.

More about this, including the infographic, can be found at this link.

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