The etiological relationship between iron deficiency and common hypochromic, microcytic anemia of infancy was demonstrated 60 years ago.1 At that time it was appreciated that human and cow's milk contained very little iron, and that prolonged deprivation of other foods containing iron resulted in anemia. Some 30 years later, controlled studies showed that iron administered in the first semester of postnatal life sharply reduces incidence of hypochromic anemia during the next 18 months.2
Since that time, numerous reports have stressed the special susceptibility of the infant to iron deficiency anemia and at the same time have demonstrated that this disorder can be prevented easily. Exact incidence of anemia in infants in the United States is difficult to assess because it varies greatly with the population group studied, but it is apparent that frequency in underprivileged groups may reach alarming proportions. In a group of 425 infants, ranging in
Schulman I. Iron Requirements in Infancy. JAMA. 1961;175(2):118–123. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.63040020019006d
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