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Iron Deficiency - Lets Help Our Children With It!

Reviewed by
Dr. Lalit Mittal 86% (22 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (Pediatrics), Certification Course In Sick Newborn Care, POST GRADUATE PROGRAMME IN PEDIATRIC NUTRITION
Pediatrician, Delhi  •  12 years experience
 Iron Deficiency - Lets Help Our Children With It!

For the growth and development of children, they need an essential nutrient; Iron. It helps in the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues.

Red blood cells contain iron in the haemoglobin. The haemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood to the different parts of the body. Iron has an important role to play in the development of the brain and generating energy in a child's body. The lack of sufficient iron in the child's body can lead to anaemia, which is a nutritional deficient illness and will require medical attention. When a child suffers from anaemia, 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 a weak immune system can make a child suffer from frequent infections.
  2. Lethargy and fatigue are the other common symptom of an iron deficient body. Due to deficiency of Iron, it becomes difficult for the body to transport oxygen to cells and hence, it fails 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 sufficient iron content when included in daily diets, thus, reducing the chances of anaemia.
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