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Routine iron fortification of infant formula linked to poorer development
Date:11/8/2011

This press release is available in Spanish.

CHICAGO -- A 10-year follow-up study examining iron-fortified vs. low-iron infant formula suggests that infants with high hemoglobin levels who received iron fortified infant formula have poorer long-term developmental outcomes.

The study, conducted in Santiago, Chile, was published online today ahead of print in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and raises questions about the optimal amount of iron in infant formula.

"The high prevalence of iron deficiency in infancy has led to routine iron fortification of infant formula and foods in many countries," says lead study author Betsy Lozoff, M.D., a behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan Health System and research professor at the University of Michigan Center for Human Growth and Development.

"These interventions help reduce iron-deficiency anemia and iron deficiency without anemia. However, the optimal amount of iron in such products, especially infant formula, is debated," she says.

Iron deficiency affects roughly 25 percent of the world's babies. Some also have iron deficiency anemia in which a lack of iron causes problems with hemoglobin -- the compound that red blood cells use to transport oxygen through the bloodstream.

Lozoff has conducted award-winning research on functional development and iron deficiencies for more than 25 years in India, Costa Rica and Chile. Iron deficiency is the world's single most common nutrient deficiency.

The recent study provides a 10-year follow-up on 835 healthy, full-term infants living in urban areas around Santiago. They were randomized in the trial at 6 months of age to receive formula with or without iron.

The follow-up assessment included 473 children and researchers measured IQ, spatial memory, arithmetic achievement, visual-motor integration, visual
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Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
smkirk@umich.eud
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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