In most cases, Iron Deficiency (ID) is fairly easy to prevent, yet according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world. As much as 50 percent of all pregnant women develop Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and approximately 750 million children worldwide are affected. Leona Dove, a Toronto-based Nurse and Blood Specialist, says there are certain signs parents can look for in their children and simple ways to enhance their family’s iron intake.
Once a woman reaches child-bearing age her risk of ID increases, due to blood lost each month during menstruation. In pregnancy, the risk is increased because her body requires 50% the amount of iron to accommodate the increased blood volume needed for her baby.
Growth spurts increase the risk of ID in all babies and children, and some have a higher risk than others, including:
How to Spot Iron Deficiency in Your Child
There’s a lot that a parent can do to help prevent and treat iron deficiency, beginning with knowing the signs and symptoms. Identify your child’s symptoms using this Symptoms Checker!
The signs of ID aren’t always obvious at first and often begin with a common triad of symptoms:
Other things to look for:
If you suspect your child may be iron deficient then a trip to the doctor for blood work is in order. If found to have ID, the doctor may recommend an oral iron supplement. Fortunately, there are liquid and powder formulations available for children that are flavored and easier to take.
Also, increasing iron-rich foods is one of the best things that you can do to help prevent ID. Here are just a few kid-friendly foods that are rich in iron:
For more information, please visit Leona Dove’s blog, The Iron Maiden, at www.theironmaiden.ca