Iron is necessary for the creation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of blood. Iron deficiency occurs when
there is an inadequate supply of iron to the body resulting from a low iron intake from the diet or losses of blood
from parasitic infections Deficiency may results in anemia due to low hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin carries oxygen
to all cells and tissues in the body. A depletion of oxygen can cause loss of energy, decreased metabolism and a failure to thrive.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as 30% of the worlds population
has iron deficiency anemia and these rates are as high as 50% in children living in Africa and Asia (Foege; 2002). Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Numerous studies have demonstrated that even moderate anemia (hemoglobin <100 g/L) is associated with depressed mental and motor development in children that may not be reversible. Thus, primary prevention of anemia and iron deficiency should be the goal of nutritional intervention programs. In the United States, approximately 3% of children from 1-5 years of age suffer from iron deficiency anemia. In developing countries, however, the prevalence of anemia reaches and in some countries exceeds 50% in children under age 5.
What are the Effects of Iron Deficiency Anemia?
- Fatigue and reduced work capacity
- Maternal morbidity and mortality
- Intra-uterine growth retardation; premature birth; fetal mortality
- Impaired development (motor skills and intellect) in infants and children
- Reduced energy and ability to learn