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March 17, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(11):976. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960460054011

Hypochromic anemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in children in the United States and occurs most frequently during the latter half of the first year after birth. Prevention rather than treatment of hypochromic anemia is our goal. The iron available at birth depends on the adequacy of the mother's diet, the length of gestation, and the placental blood allowed to reach the infant. Iron is stored in the liver of the fetus during the last six weeks of normal gestation. The amount stored is influenced considerably by the nutritional status of the mother. Infants born prematurely are denied this crucial period of iron storage and have a greater need for growth. About 100 ml. of blood will enter the term infant's body if the umbilical cord is not clamped until pulsations cease. This amount of blood will make available approximately 45 mg. more iron for storage. This amount of