Meeting iron needs for infants and children

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 May;17(3):267-72. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000043.

Abstract

Purpose of review: Iron deficiency early in life is associated with impaired neurological development. This study reviews the latest research on how to best meet iron requirements in infants and children.

Recent findings: There is concurrent evidence that delayed cord clamping is well tolerated and improves infant iron stores. Iron supplements or enriched complementary foods starting before 6 months of life do not reduce iron deficiency prevalence in low-risk populations. However, for low birth weight infants, iron supplements before 6 months of life have long-term benefits. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) during the second half year of life is rare in countries with high compliance to iron-rich complementary foods, but remains a major problem globally. In high-risk populations, iron supplementation reduces IDA and possibly improves growth. However, increased risk of infections is a concern and optimal preventive strategies have not yet been determined. Finally, there is concurrent evidence that iron supplementation of anaemic school-aged children reduces IDA and possibly improves neuropsychological outcomes.

Summary: Interventions for prevention of iron deficiency should be prioritized in risk groups. However, the unclear long-term benefits and possible risk of adverse effects, particularly increased infections in developing countries, prompt further large-scale, double-blinded trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iron / deficiency*
  • Iron, Dietary* / administration & dosage
  • MEDLINE
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Risk Factors

Substances

  • Iron, Dietary
  • Iron