3 min Read

Teaching New Parents About the Importance of Iron  

Importance of Iron during pregnancy

Think beef 3 728x90 1 - teaching new parents about the importance of iron  

A new survey guides Canada Beef’s efforts in communicating the importance of iron for babies. Read on to learn more. 

Health Canada’s infant feeding guidelines recommend that a baby’s first solid foods be iron-rich, calling out meats like beef as a best source of high-quality iron. While this guidance was published in 2012, previous research has shown that this recommendation is still not widely understood or being adopted. To better understand parents’ gaps in knowledge, Canada Beef’s Health & Nutrition team commissioned a national study with Leger Marketing on this topic. 
The survey, which captured responses from 353 Canadian moms, found significant shortfalls in the understanding and awareness of the guidelines, including a lack of understanding of the potential impact of iron deficiency on an infant’s development and a lack of awareness about the best food sources of iron. 

These results are extremely valuable in helping to guide Canada Beef’s efforts to communicate the value that beef plays in the diets of Canadians. Infant feeding has been a key strategy for the Heath & Nutrition team since the Heath Canada guidelines were released more than a decade ago, and this research validates the continued focus on delivering the message that beef is an ideal first food for babies. 

Think beef 2 920x250 1 - teaching new parents about the importance of iron  
Here are some highlights of the findings: 

  • 50 percent of respondents were unaware that iron deficiency in infants is associated with irreversible developmental delays. 
  • 47 percent were unaware the risk of iron deficiency increases from six to 12 months of age. 
  • 63 percent were unaware that high intakes of cow’s milk is a risk factor for iron deficiency. 
  • 46 percent believe that food before age one is mostly for fun; parents are unaware that the need for iron is the primary reason infants need solid food introduced starting at six months of age. 

The survey also showed low awareness of when parents can introduce meat to their babies. More than half of respondents (61 percent) didn’t know that Health Canada recommends meat as a first solid food for babies. The survey also found that 76 percent of parents did not identify beef as a major source of iron, and that 45 percent didn’t know that “heme iron,” found in meats, is better absorbed than “non-heme iron,” found in plant-based foods. Nearly a quarter of respondents also thought that veggies were the best source of iron. 

Think beef 1 300x250 1 - teaching new parents about the importance of iron  

For more information, check out https://thinkbeef.ca/nutrition-3/beef-for-babies/  

Sponsored by: Canada Beef