Assessment of Risk Factors for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Infants and Young Children: A Case-Control Study.Breastfeed Med. 2018 09; 13(7):493-499.BM
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is common in children aged 0-35 months in Lithuania. Nevertheless, there are no studies investigating IDA in this age group. We aimed to identify the major risk factors for disease development focusing on medical history and dietary habits.
A prospective case-control study was conducted in a university hospital. The enrolled cohort was divided into three groups: IDA infants (IDA-In; n = 36, aged 3-11 months), IDA children (IDA-Ch; n = 23, aged 12-32 months), and healthy controls (HCs; n = 32, aged 6-34 months).
There was a higher number of premature, low birth weight (LBW), and faster gaining weight infants in the IDA-In group. Their diet diversity was lower than IDA-Ch and HC. In contrast, the IDA-Ch group had no signs of impaired iron stores at birth or higher iron need for fast growth; their diet diversity was similar to that of HC, but meat was introduced later as compared with those in the IDA-In and HC groups. Consumption of cow's milk was rather low among all study participants, but consumption of sugar-added products was found to be a new emerging problem. Exclusive breastfeeding did not differ in duration and prevalence; the age for introduction of complementary foods was similar in all groups.
Low compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on breastfeeding and complementary feeding suggests an urgent need for nutritional counseling in early childhood, especially in premature, LBW, and fast gaining weight infants.