Iron is an essential nutrient that make haemoglobin, which helps oxygen to move from lungs to the rest of the body. It also helps muscles store and use oxygen. So, lack of iron in a child’s diet can develop a condition called iron deficiency. This is a common problem common observed in children which occurs in different levels. It can differ from mild to anemia extent. If the deficiency is untreated then it will affect a child’s growth and brain to develop normally.
Symptoms of iron deficiency in children
Some of the symptoms are slow weight gain, pale skin, no appetite, behavioural problems, fatigue, abnormally rapid breathing, frequent infections, cold hands and feet. Children might not be physically active and development is even slower. Not enough of iron in body will make it difficult to concentrate and shorter attention span leading to poor academic performances. Consult a doctor for precised remedial measure and avail the medications through best medicine app in India.
What type of children are at risk of iron deficiency?
- Prematurely born babies or have low birth weight.
- When babies under the age of one-year drink cow’s or goat’s milk.
- Breastfed babies who aren’t given complementary food containing iron after age of 6 months.
- Children who have chronic infections or restricted diets.
- Children exposed to lead. Children not eating enough of iron- rich foods.
- Overweight or obese kids.
What is the iron requirement level for the children?
Sever to twelve month old baby would need 11mg of iron per day. In the age group of 1- 3 years, 4-8 years and 9- 13 years’ children would require 7mg, 10mg and 8mg in a day respectively. For girls aged between 14 to 18 years, 15mg of iron is recommended per day, while for boys it’s 11mg.
Source of iron for children
Babies are born with an iron reserve that comes from mother’s blood while in the womb. Through breastfed babies will get the essential nutrients for first 6 months. Health Canada defines the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) as the average daily dietary nutrient intake level sufficient to meet requirement of nearly 97% - 98% healthy individuals.
Iron intake happens in two different types, namely heme iron and non- heme iron. Heme iron are easily absorbed by the body like those found in meat. Non- heme iron comes from plant sources like legumes, vegetables and cereals. Some of the food rich in iron include meats, fish, eggs, grains and cereals. Babies under one year should not be given egg whites and shellfish such as lobster, shrimp or scallops. Other sources of iron are legumes like chick peas, lentils, dried peas, beans and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peas.
For the body to absorb iron, combine these foods with good sources of vitamin C such as oranges, tomatoes and red peppers.
Cow’s milk: It is not a good source of iron. In fact, drinking more of cow’s milk may lead to iron deficiency. Children aged 1 to 5 years old shouldn’t drink more than 24 ounces or 710 millilitres of cow’s milk, goat’s milk or soy milk a day.
Iron supplement: There is no need of an iron supplement for full- term babies who are breastfed or get iron- fortified infant formula from birth. Premature babies should get iron supplement when they are 8 weeks old until one-year-old. Children over a year old, needn’t take any iron supplement if they are having iron rich foods.
Iron supplement side effects: Some of the side effects of iron supplements include stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and black stools. Some children might start to feel normal about intake of pills after a few weeks. Don’t provide any medications on your, take your doctor’s recommendation on this issue. Avail the same through medical store home delivery provision shop.
Others: Intake of iron pills may turn child’s stool greenish or grayish, which is normal. Liquid forms of iron can stain the child’s teeth which has to be wiped off to prevent permanent staining. Too much of iron can be dangerous.
A healthy adult is shaped by having a healthy childhood. All the required nutrients have to be consumed from the birth as to avoid serious health complications in the matured life. With the changing lifestyle and food diet, parents have to be extra cautious to provide their child with the right amount of nutrient rich food.