Iron deficiency in children

• Iron deficiency is present in up to 10-30% of children in high-risk groups.

• It is often subclinical and anaemia develops in relatively few.

• It can lead to reduced cognitive and psychomotor performance (even without anaemia).

• High-risk groups include those infants < 6 months who are premature and/or with low birth weight; toddlers 6-36 months with a diet high in cows milk and low in iron-containing foods; those exclusively breast-fed after 6 months; those with delayed introduction of solids; those with general poor food intake; and those with lack of Vitamin C in diet.

• Possible symptoms include irritability, lethargy, minor behavioural changes.

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