[Prevalence of iron deficiency in healthy 12-month-old infants].An Esp Pediatr 2002; 57(3):209-14AE
Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency among infants in industrialized countries. There is ample documentation of both short- and long-term adverse effects of iron deficiency.
To study the prevalence of iron deficiency in 12-month-old infants and to investigate the influence of several factors (dietary, growth, etc.) on iron status.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
A random sample of 94 healthy infants from a basic health district was studied. Maternal and perinatal variables, dietary intake and anthropometry were assessed at regular intervals from birth to the age of 12 months. Hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, transferrin saturation and serum ferritin were also evaluated.
The prevalence of iron deficiency was 9.6 % and that of iron deficiency anemia was 4.3 %. Of the nine infants with iron deficiency, four had been breast-fed for more than 6 months with late introduction of complementary foods and another had not been fed an iron-fortified formula while the 85 children without iron deficiency had received an appropriate diet (p < 0.05). Weight increase in the first year of life was significantly and positively correlated with hemoglobin and serum ferritin.
Iron deficiency is relatively common in 12-month-old-infants but is limited to groups with inadequate feeding practices. Iron deficiency screening should be performed only in children with risk factors and/or inadequate diets.