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Deficiency of Iron in Children

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ashima Aggarwal 91% (133 ratings)
PALS, MD, MBBS
Pediatrician, Delhi  •  10 years experience
Deficiency of Iron in Children

For the growth and development of children, they need an essential nutrient Iron. It helps in the transfer of oxygen from lungs to the body's tissues. Red blood cells contain iron in the hemoglobin. The hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood to the different parts of the body. Iron has an important role to play in the development of brain and generating energy in a child's body. The lack of sufficient iron in the child's body can lead to anemia, which is a nutritional deficient illness and will require medical attention. When a child suffers from anemia, the lack of oxygen makes a child weak and sick.

There are certain symptoms of Iron deficiency in a child's body. These are:

  1. Infections and weak immune system can make a child suffer from frequent infections.
  2. Lethargy and fatigue is another common symptom of an iron deficient body. Due to deficiency of Iron it is difficult for the body to transport oxygen to cells in the body and hence it unable to generate enough energy levels.
  3. Breathlessness and increased sweating can be a sign that your child may be suffering from iron deficiency.
  4. Pica Children suffering from iron deficiency may find a special taste for non-food substances like chalk, dirt and clay.
  5. Lack of iron in the body hampers the physical growth of a child.

The deficiency of iron in children can be diagnosed through blood tests. Your doctor may recommend supplementing iron content orally or through multivitamin medicines. But the deficiency of Iron in a child's body should be taken care of with absolute urgency.

Proper steps should be taken to prevent the deficiency of Iron in children. Those notable precautions are mentioned below:

  1. Balanced diet: A well balanced diet is always recommended. For older children (within 9-12 years of age), red meat, chicken and fish would suffice as good sources of iron.
  2. Oral iron supplements: Oral iron supplements would be required for children with low weight at birth and who have a deficiency of iron in their daily diet.
  3. Vitamin C: Foods such as strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes help in providing the sufficient iron content when included in daily diets, thus reducing the chances of anemia.
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