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Food and Nutrition Topics..

You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Eating Disorders and Compulsions > Iron Deficiency in Kids - Symptoms, Risks and Preventive Tips

Iron Deficiency in Kids - Symptoms, Risks and Preventive Tips

Read on to learn about the symptoms of iron deficiency in kids and risks associated with this disorder. Find tips for preventing iron deficiency in kids right here.

Iron is one of the most important minerals for the proper growth and development of the human body. Iron deficiency in mothers can lead to high risk in pregnancies. Iron deficiency in children can lead to stunted growth; breathing problems and behavioural issues etc. A proper understanding of iron deficiency will let you understand its risks for kids.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency in children may manifest itself in many ways. Kids who are not receiving the proper quantity of iron from their diet may show the following symptoms. Children may suffer from behavioural problems and show repeat infection patterns from virus attacks. They can lose their appetite and become lethargic and listless. Demonstrating breathless spells and sweating a lot is also a sign of iron deficiency. Some kids may also demonstrate weird food cravings like eating dirt (pica) while others may demonstrate developmental problems.

Major Risk Points for Iron Deficiency

There are several dietary patterns and biological conditions that can lead to iron deficiency. It is important for parents to understand the risk patterns for iron deficiency so that they do not unknowingly expose their kids to it.

An infant who is born prematurely has a higher chance of suffering from iron deficiency. Infants who are breastfed exclusively even after 6 months can develop iron deficiency due to lack of solid foods. Conversely even if a child is fed a lot of cow’s milk before the age of 2 iron deficiency can develop. The insufficient amount of animal protein consumption or a completely vegan diet has been linked to iron deficiency. Gastrointestinal diseases and lead contamination can eat away stores of iron leading to iron deficiency.

Preventing Iron Deficiency in Babies

Babies can begin to suffer from iron deficiency in the second half of their 1st year of life. Parents can begin serving 2 scoops of iron fortified cereal as prescribed by a paediatrician for babies mixed with breast milk or other safe pureed iron rich foods. Once baby gets used to it, meat puree along with cereal can be served. You need to consult your paediatrician before including meat in the diet of your baby. 

Preventing Iron Deficiency in Kids Below 5 Years

Though breast milk (which is considered to be the best food for newborns) contains a minute amount of iron, this quantity is not sufficient to meet iron requirement. Children above the age of one year can be given pureed/ boiled fruits and vegetables and pureed meat. Whole flour of cereals like corn, ragi, barley etc can also be included in their diet. Children of this age grow very fast and require a high amount of iron which needs to be fulfilled from dietary sources. Children of this age need to be fed chickpeas, poultry products and nut pastes. Children of this age are prone to intestinal worms that can deplete iron stores. Make sure that your kids are inspected regularly by physicians and get de-worming courses done.

Preventing Iron Deficiency in Teenagers

Teenagers need sufficient amount of iron in their diet to keep their concentration and focus high. Insufficient iron stores in body will lead to weakness, exhaustion and low levels of energy. Teenagers should be given high amount of Vitamin C as it helps the body in absorbing iron. Good Vitamin C sources include lemons, broccoli, tomato, kiwis and oranges. See to it that your teen does not consume too much unhealthy junk food that can lead to diarrhoea and iron depletion.

If you suspect that your kid is suffering from iron deficiency then get him or her inspected by a paediatrician. Blood tests and an inspection of medical history are also required. Children who suffer from iron deficiency should be able to benefit from a combination of lifestyle intervention and dietary changes.

What can cause iron deficiency in kids? How to prevent iron deficiency in kids? What are the symptoms of iron deficiency in kids? Discuss here.

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Ishika.2 years ago
Ragi or Nachni is very good source of iron for kids. Nachni pudding can be introduced the diet of children. It is very tasty and healthy as well.
Kanchi.2 years ago
I agree with you, Ragi is a very good source of iron for children. Ragi flour can be used for making custard for kids. It is very healthy.
Sneha.2 years ago
Iron is very important nutrient for growth and development for children.
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