DAILY IRON SUPPLEMENTATION IN INFANT AND CHILDREN
Approximately 300 million children globally had anemia in 2011.The highest prevalence of anemia is among children aged under 5 years and women.Iron deficiency can result from inadequate intake or absorption of dietary iron,increased need for iron in periods of growth or pregnancy, increased losses from menstruation, or infection with intestinal helminths such as schistosomiasis or hookworm infection, in areas where these infestations are endemic . Other important causes of anemia include infections such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV; other nutritional deficiencies such as of folate and vitamins B12, A and C; genetic conditions and hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia; and chronic kidney disease.
Approximately 38–62% of anemia is responsive to iron supplementation.
The risks for anemia in children start during gestation. Anemia in the child’s mother during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of low birth weight and maternal and child mortality . Children born to mothers with anemia may be more likely to be iron deficient and anemic early in life. This may irreversibly affect the cognitive development and physical growth of infants .
Iron is required by infants to produce red blood cells in the first months after birth. Infants commonly use iron stored during the last months of gestation. When the infant is 4–6 months of age, the stores can become low or depleted. This is exacerbated when there are inadequate iron stores due to low birth weight and prematurity ; increased requirements from rapid growth and erythropoiesis; inadequate iron from the
diet, such as in cases of early introduction of cereal-based complementary food, from which iron absorption can be as low as 5% , or with prolonged milk feeding ; and blood loss due to intestinal parasitic infections.
In the preschool years, children undergo rapid growth, with an increase in red blood cells and high iron requirements . As children reach their third year, growth velocity decreases and daily iron requirements may decline. They are becoming ambulant and, if sanitation is poor, are more likely to acquire intestinal parasitic infections that cause iron deficiency. Young children are being weaned from breastfeeding but foods being given may be inadequate for their iron needs .
Among school-age children, iron deficiency has been associated with impaired cognitive and physical development and provision of iron showed a positive effect . However, a causal relation between iron deficiency and cognitive impairment has not been confirmed. Assurance of cognitive and physical development though optimal nutrition in school-age children could have benefits beyond school performance.
• Daily iron supplementation is recommended as a public health intervention in infants and young children aged 6–23 months, living in settings where anemia is highly prevalent for preventing iron deficiency and anemia (strong recommendation, moderate quality of evidence).
Supplement composition should be 10–12.5 mg elemental iron in supplement form drops/syrup daily, three consecutive months in a year.
(text from :WHO Guideline 2016 : Daily iron supplementation in infants and children.)
Irovit drops, 15 mg ferrous sulfate in form of drops , ideal for supplementation of iron in kids.