DALLAS Sept. 3, 2007 A study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers has found that overweight toddlers and those not enrolled in day care are at high risk for iron deficiency.
Based on data from a national survey of 1,641 toddlers, the study found that 20 percent of overweight toddlers were iron-deficient, compared to 8 percent of those at risk for being overweight, and 7 percent of normal-weight toddlers.
The study, appearing in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, is the first to report an association between iron deficiency and being overweight among children as young as 1 to 3 years old.
The study also found that 10 percent of the studys toddlers not in day care had iron deficiency, while only about 5 percent of toddlers who were enrolled in day care had iron deficiency.
Given the detrimental long-term effects and high prevalence of iron deficiency, preventing iron deficiency in early childhood is an important public health issue, said Dr. Jane Brotanek, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study.
Iron deficiency, a common cause of anemia, results in impaired bone marrow and muscle function. Iron-deficiency anemia in infancy and early childhood is associated with behavioral and cognitive delays, including impaired learning, decreased school achievement, and lower scores on tests of mental and motor development.
Several studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of iron deficiency in the United States among low-income infants and children, who may experience food insecurity and have diets low in iron.
In the current study, Dr. Brotanek and her colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV, for a nationally representative sample of U.S. children 1 to 3 years old. The NHANES IV was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1999 through 2002. Participating families were ask
|Contact: Erin Prather Stafford|
UT Southwestern Medical Center