Sometimes, although we try to make every meal nutritious and delicious for our children, a number of reasons keep them from getting the right type and amount of nutrients that their growing body needs.
In studies conducted by the FNRI-DOST in the past years, 53 percent among the population of 1-year-old children were found to be anemic, and around 14-34 percent of children aged 2-5 years old were affected with the condition as well. These figures indicate that iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) is still a serious public health problem in the Philippines, especially in children.
IDA was found to be often associated with:
· Poor diet
· Body’s poor absorption of iron
· Long-term, slow blood loss—usually through menstrual periods or bleeding in the digestive tract
· Rapid growth (in the first year of life and in adolescence), when more iron is needed.
The condition occurs when, because of a lack of iron, there are not enough healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen to the different parts of the body. This results in fatigue, poor work performance, and decreased immunity.
Iron deficiency in babies may cause delays in normal physical and mental development, the signs of which include slow weight gain, pale skin, no appetite, and irritability.
On the other hand, older children with IDA may have problems in concentrating, completing tasks, and paying attention—symptoms that may manifest in their performance in school. They may also suffer from decreased energy, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and palpitations.
So, if you’ve noticed your child has been feeling weak, looking pale, and not doing quite well in school for the past days, you may want to look into the possibility of insufficient iron supply in his diet, and consider tweaking his daily meals with more iron-rich foods.