Anemia in children

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Children between ages 6 months and 3years are prone to iron-deficiency. This is due to rapid growth and inadequate intake of dietary iron by children within this age range. Most healthy babies are born with iron stores that could last the first 4 months of their lives.

Cow milk though a good source of calcium for development of bones and teeth in infants, is low in iron needed for growth. It also inhibits the absorption of iron from iron-enriched foods. Several other factors predisposes young children to anemia, these include:

·         Lead poisoning

·         Preterm or low birth babies

·         Chronic infections

·         Short term breastfeeding

·          Restricted diets

 Therefore, it is recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics that iron supplements be received by children from their fourth month until iron-enriched cereals are introduced. Introducing iron supplements for preterm babies from their first month is beneficial for their growth. Complications that may arise due to iron-deficiency include:

·         Decreased attention span

·         Reduced alertness

·         Learning problems etc

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Children that are fed with adequate amount of vitamin C are able to absorb iron from foods they eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are better sources for vitamins C. Sources of iron include lean meat, eggs, grains, dark leafy vegetables etc.


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