INTRODUCTION: Many studies in this field justify the hypothesis that early weaning is one of the causes of anemia in the first year of life. This study seeks to discover the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia and its relation to the duration of breast-feeding among infants aged 0-12 months. MATERIAL AND METHOD: A sample of 317 infants of four school health centers in the city of S. Paulo (Brazil) was studied. The information about diet was obtained by interviewing the mothers. The presence of anemia was verified by hemoglobin concentration, using the cianometahemoglobin method, and the criteria recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) were utilized for the diagnosis. The duration of exclusive breast feeding was calculated by using the life table technique for censored data. RESULTS: The prevalence of anemia was found to be 14.5% for the whole population and 22.6% for infants aged more than 180 days. No association was found between anemia and time of breast-feeding; the median time were the same for both groups, anemic and non-anemic. COMMENTS: The results observed are more probably related to the demographic characteristics of the population studied and by no means lessen the importance of exclusive breast feeding in the prevention of anemia.