Iron status in 2-year-old Icelandic children and associations with dietary intake and growth.Eur J Clin Nutr 2004; 58(6):901-6EJ
To investigate the effects of food and nutrient intake at 2 y and growth from birth on iron status at 2 y in a population with high birth weight.
In a cross-sectional study, children's food consumption and body size measurements were recorded and blood samples taken. Weighed 3-day food records were used to analyse food and nutrient intake.
Children were recruited from across Iceland from the Icelandic National Registry by the University of Iceland, Computing Services. The children in the sample were born over a 1-y period.
Parents of randomly selected 2-year-old children (n=130) were contacted, and 72% (n=94) participated. Blood samples were analysed in 76% (n=71) of participating children.
In total, 9% of the children were iron-deficient (serum ferritin (SF)<12 microg/l and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) <74 fl) and 1.4% were also anaemic (Hb<105 g/l), while 27% of children were iron-depleted (SF<12 microg/l). Iron status indices were negatively associated with cow's milk consumption. Half of children consuming>500 g cow's milk/day (n=10) were iron-deficient, while one child in 58 consuming<500 g cow's milk/day had iron deficiency (P<0.001). In multiple regression analyses, also biscuits and crackers consumption was positively associated with MCV. Weight gain from birth to 2 y was negatively associated with SF (adjusted R(2)=0.15; P=0.002; n=58). Iron-depleted children were heavier than children not iron-depleted (14.7+/-1.3 vs 13.8+/-1.7 kg; P=0.043), had higher BMI (17.7+/-1.5 vs 16.7+/-1.4 kg/m(2); P=0.028) and gained more weight from birth (11.2+/-1.3 vs. 10.0+/-1.6 kg; P=0.011).
The results suggest that cow's milk consumption above 500 g/day should be avoided at the age of 2 y for better iron status. Iron depletion at 2 y is associated with faster growth from birth.