The importance of iron in children is undeniable. It is an indispensable nutrient for any human being whose deficit can cause growth problems.
In this article, we will explain why it is so important, what daily amount of it is needed at each age.
Why is iron important for children?
Iron has a fundamental role in our body. It has to do with the transfer of oxygen throughout our body, and it is also vital to be stored in the muscles.
Iron deficiency may turn into anemia in its most severe cases, which can affect the children´s normal development.
How much iron do children need?
The daily amount of iron a baby needs can vary considerably depending on his or her age. You can see a small table below with the recommended amount of it:
- Between 7 and 12 months of age: 11 mg
- Between 1 and 3 years: 7 mg.
- Between 4 and 8 years: 10 mg.
- Between 9 and 13 years: 8 mg.
- Between 14 and 18 years old: 11 mg for boys and 15 mg for girls
The difference between boys and girls in the last stage is due to menstruation, which produces a loss of iron through the blood. This deficit, which must be compensated for, will continue throughout a woman’s childbearing years.
For instance, clams and cockles contain about 24 mg of iron per 100 grams, the liver reaches 8 mg per 100 grams, 4 mg per 100 grams of pistachios, or 3.3 mg per 100 grams of boiled lentils.
Can babies suffer from iron deficiency?
The answer is “yes”, babies can suffer from iron deficiency. Some groups that are especially at risk are the following
- Babies who consume cow’s or goat’s milk before the age of 12 months as their only source of milk
- Children on restricted diets for any reason.
- Children who are obese or overweight.
How to prevent iron deficiency
The main weapon we have to prevent iron deficiency during lactation and early childhood is a balanced diet according to the circumstances.
Usually, breastfeeding can cover all the nutritional needs of the baby. Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, and get ready to decipher your little one’s specific needs.