Iron deficiency

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Children with mild iron deficiency often feel tired and tend to be more susceptible to infections. With more severe iron deficiency (called iron deficiency anaemia) symptoms such as heart palpitations, brittle nails, thinning hair, itchy skin (pruritus) and mouth sores or ulcers can develop. Iron deficiency can also have a hugely neagtive impact on your child's cognitive development.

Iron deficiency in children can be caused by many things!! Lets run through a few possible causes.

Inadequate dietary intake

Simply put, your child isnt eating enough!

So which foods are good sources of iron? Many different foods contain iron in different amounts. Some food sources are more iron- rich than others. For example, animal-based sources such as red meat (beef, lamb and pork) are particularly rich sources of iron and are most easily absorbed, and to a lesser extent fish and poultry. Plant-based sources of iron include pulses and legumes (such as beans, peas, and lentils), dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, cabbage, and broccoli), tofu, nuts and seeds. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with iron.

How much iron does your child need a day?

Infants 0-3 months 1.7mg 4-6 months 4.3mg 7-12 months 7.8mg Children 1-3 years 6.9mg 4-6 years 6.1mg 7-10 years 8.7mg Adolescents 11-18 years 14.8mg for girls and 11.3mg for boys

Poor absorption

The iron in animal-based sources is often referred to as ‘haem iron’ whilst the iron in plant-based sources is often referred to as ‘non-haem iron’. 'Non-haem iron' is poorly absorbed so whilst the iron content of spinach is great its