Iron deficiency is the commonest nutritional deficiency encountered in children. Its incidence in a given area appears to be a fairly accurate indicator of the economic status and the efficiency of preventive medicine in that area. Though other deficiency diseases are decreasing, the incidence of iron deficiency in at least one area in this country has not changed significantly in the past 20 years.1 Anemia due to iron-deficiency is commonest in infants, aged 6 months to 2 years.2,3 Though etiologic factors such as low iron stores at birth, blood loss, and intestinal parasitism must be considered, a dietary intake of iron insufficient to satisfy iron requirements during growth is the single most important cause of iron deficiency in infancy. The lower the total body iron content of a given infant the greater his need for exogenous iron for growth.
In order to determine the availability of food iron
SCHULZ J, SMITH NJ. A Quantitative Study of the Absorption of Food Iron in Infants and Children. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1958;95(2):109-119. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1958.02060050111001