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3 Ways Iron Deficiency Can Affect Your Child

For moms and dads, the most important thing when raising their children is to make sure that they grow up strong and healthy to unlock their potential to the fullest. One of the ways to support that growth is with right nutrition.

5 mins to read By Shen-Li Tan Dec 8, 2015

For moms and dads, the most important thing when raising their children is to make sure that they grow up strong and healthy to unlock their potential to the fullest. One of the ways to support that growth is with right nutrition. Give your child a variety of baby cereals such as porridge and rice, and baby food such as pureed fruits. If you give your child infant cereal, read the food label and choose those fortified with iron.

Iron is a component of haemoglobin, key to carry oxygen to all parts of the body including the brain. It contributes to optimum growth for your child to achieve his full potential.1

Iron Deficiency and Your Child 
As something that’s so important, how will a lack of iron affect your child?

1. Affecting Cognitive Development
Findings suggest that iron deficiency during your child’s growing years may affect cognitive development2.

2. School Performance
Iron deficiency can lead to poor cognitive development and chronic iron deficient children are 3 times more likely to drop out of school or have no further education and training3.
Lozoff B et al., 20133

3. Affecting the Risk of Iron-Deficiency Anemia
When it comes to anemia, the complication impairs motor and cognitive development2,4, and increases the risk of infectious diseases.5-6

You may be thinking, iron deficiency only happens in less developed countries. However, there is a high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia and anemia in preschool children worldwide7,8,9. In Malaysia, 1 in 3 children under 5 years of age suffer from anemia.10

What Can You Do?
As a meal provider for your beloved child at home, you can complement your child’s diet with iron rich complementary food. Fish and poultry are rich in protein, vegetables are a source of fibre, and cereals will fill the need for carbohydrates. As for iron, it can be found in foods such as lentils, broccoli and beef. While your usual home-cooked food will help encourage good eating habits in the future, you can have complementary food such as iron fortified infant cereal to support that diet.

CERELAC® Infant Cereal is one of the appropriate complementary foods, and it is a good choice for delivering daily dose of iron. Based on the Malaysian RNI, daily iron intake for children aged 6-11 months is 9 mg/day11. One serving of CERELAC® Infant Cereal contains minimum 5mg of iron which meets 50% of your child’s daily iron needs.

It is made with Nestlé® patented method to break down carbohydrates in the cereals into smaller units, thus making them easier to digest. It also contains BIFIDUS BL probiotics to help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

What’s more, the rice used in CERELAC® Infant Cereal is sourced from paddy fields in Alor Setar, managed by Nestlé® Paddy Club, an initiative where Nestlé® works with local farmers through a rice-growing sustainability innovation that uses environmental-friendly approaches for the manufacturing of Nestlé® Infant Cereal.

With a balance of nutrition from a well-planned diet, you can support for your child’s healthy growth!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Not to be given to infants below 6 months of age unless advised by health professional. For optimal infant health, breastfeeding should continue up to 2 years of age along with complementary food. Nutritious complementary food such as rice, fish, meat, chicken, lentils, vegetables, and fruits can be introduced to infants at 6 months of age. NESTLÉ® CERELAC® Infant Cereal can be part of the infant’s varied diet.

1. EFSA, 2013. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to iron and contribution to normal cognitive development pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. Official Journal of the European Union, 11(7), p. 3335.
2. Black, M. M., Quigg, A. M, Hurley, K. M. & Reese Pepper, M., iron-deficiency anemia in the first two years of life: strategies to prevent loss of developmental potential. Nutrition Reviews, 2011, 691Suppl. 1l, pp. S64-S70
3. Lozoff B, Smith JB, Kaciroti N, Clark KM, Guevara S, Jimenez E. Functional significance of early-life iron deficiency: outcomes at 25 years. J Pediatr. 2013 Nov;163(5):1260-6
4. Lozoff, B., iron deficiency and child development. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 2007, 28(4 (Supplement)), pp. S560-S571.
5. Beard, J. L., Iron biology in immune functions, muscle metabolism and neuronal functioning. Journal of Nutrition, 2001, Volume 131, pp. 568S-580S.
6. Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition board, Dietary reference intakes of vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium and zinc, Washington DC, 2002.
7. Black, R. E. et al, Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle income countries. The Lancet, 2013, 382(9890), pp. 427-451.
8. Stevens, G. A. et al., Global, regional and national trends in haemoglobin concentration and prevalence of total pregnant women for 1995-2011: a systematic analysis of population-representative data. Lancet Glob Health, 2013, Volume 1, pp. e16-25.
9. WHO Global database on anemia. World wide prevalence of anemia 1993-2005. Edited by deBenoist, McLean E, Egli I, Cogswell M. WHO 2008.
10. Poh BK et al., (2013). Nutritional status and dietary intakes of children aged 8 months to 12 years, findings of the Nutrition Survey of Malaysian Children (SEANUTS Malaysia). British Journal of Nutrition; 110: S21-S35.
11. NCCFN (2005). Recommended Nutrient Intakes from Malaysia. A Report of the Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines. National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya.


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