Among the 1,641 toddlers tested, 42 percent were Hispanic, 28 percent were white and 25 percent were black. Iron deficiency prevalence was 12 percent among Hispanics versus 6 percent of whites and 6 percent of blacks. Fourteen percent of toddlers with parents interviewed in a language other than English had iron deficiency versus 7 percent of toddlers with parents interviewed in English.
Dietary practices leading to iron deficiency include exclusive breastfeeding beyond six months not supplemented by iron-rich foods or vitamins with iron, early introduction of milk, prolonged bottle feeding, and excessive consumption of cows milk. An association between maternal prenatal anemia and iron deficiency has also been reported.
Dr. Brotanek said that children not weaned from the bottle at an appropriate age may become accustomed to drinking excessive amounts of milk and juices, leading to less appetite for a more balanced and healthy diet.
As for the discrepancy among iron deficiency rates for stay-at-home versus day care-enrolled children, Dr. Brotanek said the reason is unclear and needs to be further studied.
It may be that children enrolled in day care centers have better diets, with higher amounts of iron, than children who do not attend day care, Dr. Brotanek said. Little is known about the quantity and types of foods and beverages served in child care settings as well as staff training on nutrition.
Hispanic toddlers were significantly more likely than white and black toddlers to be overweight and not in day care. The higher prevalence of these nonethnic risk factors may account for the increased risk of iron deficiency among Hispanic toddlers. Dr. Brotanek said community-based interventions should consider this racial/ethnic disparity and the increased risk of iron deficiency among overweight toddlers whe
|Contact: Erin Prather Stafford|
UT Southwestern Medical Center