Iron deficiency in 1- to 3-year-old children. A pediatric failure?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997 Oct;151(10):986-8. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170470020003.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in children aged 1 to 3 years in an urban population.

Design: Venous blood was measured for levels of hemoglobin, ferritin, free erythrocyte protoporphyrin, and lead in children seen for well-child visits. Children with histories of chronic illness, prematurity, blood dyscrasias, and acute illness were excluded.

Setting: The private practice offices of 4 pediatricians in the New York City area.

Patients: A consecutive sample of 504 children aged 1 to 3 years was included.

Results: More than one third (35%) of the children demonstrated evidence of iron insufficiency; 7% were iron deficient without anemia, and 10% had iron deficiency anemia.

Conclusion: Because the association of iron deficiency anemia with mental and psychomotor impairment during the first 2 years of life no longer seems to be in doubt, the high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia found in the 1- to 2-year-old children in this study is disturbing. This suggests the need for greater efforts at the prevention of iron deficiency during the second year of life.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead / blood
  • New York City
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Prevalence
  • Sampling Studies
  • Urban Health


  • Hemoglobins
  • Lead
  • Ferritins