Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia
Print version ISSN 1516-8484
BRAGA, Josefina A. P. and VITALLE, Maria Sylvia S.. Iron deficiency in infants and children. Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. [online]. 2010, vol.32, suppl.2, pp. 38-44. Epub May 28, 2010. ISSN 1516-8484. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-84842010005000054.
Iron deficiency anemia afflicts an estimated two billion people and iron deficiency approximately 4 billion people in developed countries and is even more common in developing countries. In Brazil, depending on the region and age, studies point to high prevalences of iron-deficiency anemia in children. The high growth speed, which requires a greater amount of iron, connected with an inadequate iron diet and early weaning contribute to the high prevalence, mainly within the first 2 years of life. Other risk factors, such as prematurity, low birth weight, early umbilical cord clamping and weaning from exclusive breastfeeding may contribute. The impact of iron deficiency on growth is controversial as several other variables contribute to improve or worsen the nutritional status. Alterations in the psychomotor and neural-cognitive development of infants with iron deficiency have been reported in various studies with the catch-up growth rate after treatment being controversial. Additionally, some studies have demonstrated a decrease in the intellectual development and cognitive acquisition in school age children and adolescents that is reverted after iron therapy. The best preventive measure is nutritional education, however due to the high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia, other measures should also be used as iron supplementation and food fortification with iron.
Keywords : Iron-deficiency anemia; child; growth; development; prevention.