Iron status in low-birth-weight infants, small and appropriate for gestational age. A follow-up study

Acta Paediatr. 1992 Oct;81(10):824-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1992.tb12111.x.


Iron nutrition was measured in 84 low-birth-weight infants. At birth, they were assigned to three groups: preterm infants appropriate for gestational age (n = 29); preterm infants small for gestational age (n = 17); and full-term infants small for gestational age (n = 38). A sub-sample of infants was supplemented with iron 3 mg/kg from two to four months of age. At birth, preterm appropriate-for-gestational-age infants had a lower hemoglobin concentration than full-term small-for-gestational-age infants (p < 0.01) and a higher serum ferritin than preterm small-for-gestational-age infants (p < 0.05). In the non-supplemented group, full-term small-for-gestational-age infants had significantly higher hemoglobin concentrations at four months of age. At this age, iron-supplemented preterm infants appropriate or small for gestational age had significantly higher hemoglobin levels than non-supplemented subjects, while iron supplementation did not have an effect on final hemoglobin concentration in full-term small-for-gestational-age infants. We conclude that preterm infants, irrespective of their adequacy for gestational age, show evidence of iron deficiency before four months of age. Full-term infants do not develop iron deficiency up to this age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hypochromic / blood*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / drug therapy
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / epidemiology
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Ferrous Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Ferrous Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Hematocrit
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / blood*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / blood*
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Nutritional Status*


  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Hemoglobins
  • Ferritins