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Why Do Children Need Iron?

Children Need Iron

One of the many micronutrients important for a healthy life – Iron, plays a very important role in the proper growth in children. Most of the developing nations have witnessed a widespread deficiency of Iron in infants and young children and the way that affects their holistic growth in various forms. So, let’s take a look at why children need Iron:

1. For A Healthy Brain1

It has been scientifically proven that infants and children need Iron for a healthy brain development. Iron deficiency during the growing years adversely affect the child’s metabolism, myelination, neurotransmission, and gene and protein profiles. It is imperative then, that children must be given Iron supplements during various stages of growth.

2. Children Need Iron to Make Haemoglobin2

Iron is required for the formation of haemoglobin - a component of Red Blood Cells (RBC) which carries oxygen to various parts of the body. Iron deficiency leads to a condition called anaemia wherein the child’s growth slows down and he/she experiences constant weakness.

3. For Proper Cognitive, Motor and Other Skills3

Studies shows that babies suffering from Iron-deficiency anaemia between the ages of 6 months to 24 months have under-developed cognitive and motor developmental skills. They are also at a risk for poorer social-emotional behaviour and neurophysiological development in the short and long-term.

Signs and Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency In Kids:4

If you pay attention you might be able to catch the early signs of Iron deficiency in your child. The symptoms include pale skin, lack of appetite, slow weight gain, irritability or moodiness, tiredness and lethargy. In growing children, the deficiency reflects in the form of poorer concentration and shorter attention span leading to poor academic performance. Moreover, Iron deficiency has also been associated with impaired neurocognitive development and immune function among young children.  Some studies have found a correlation between Iron deficiency and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  wherein the child gets easily distracted, is always restless, and finds it difficult to perform simple sensory-cognitive tasks like following directions.

Prevalence Of Anaemia In Indian Children Aged 6 To 59 Months:8

City % of children suffering from severe anaemia Total % of children suffering from anaemia
Rajasthan 6.7 69.7
Punjab 6.6 66.4
Haryana 4.3 72.3
Uttar Pradesh 3.6 73.9
Andhra Pradesh 3.6 70.8
Gujarat 3.6 69.7
Madhya Pradesh 3.4 74.1
Karnataka 3.2 70.4

Food Items That Contain Iron9

You can supplement your child’s Iron needs through his/her diet. You can include the below mentioned food items in his/her diet:
Various kinds of meat like Beef, Lamb, Pork, Liver, Chicken, Turkey
Legumes like Chickpeas, Lentils, Dried Peas, Beans
Vegetables like Spinach, Green Peas, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts
Grains and Cereals

Your child needs Iron at every stage of his/her growth. By ensuring that children consume Iron-rich food, you ensure their healthy and normal growth. You can also provide them with food supplements with Iron in it.

Related Tags

Iron Deficiency, Iron