How Many Children Are Iron Deficient?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world as well as the leading cause of anemia.  Unfortunately, children are among the most affected and the prevalence of ID and IDA in children is high. The following statistics will give you a better understanding of just how big a problem iron deficiency is among children in Canada and the world.


ID & IDA in Canadian Children

  • Approximately 5% of Canadian children aged 1 to 5 suffer from iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia;
    • There has not been a national study of iron deficiency in infants and children in Canada for more than 30 years, at which time the prevalence of IDA was approximately 19%;
    • Based on several small, more recent studies, the prevalence of iron deficiency ranges anywhere from 12% to 64%, and 1.5% to 79% for iron deficiency anemia, based on different patient groups.


Global Prevalence of ID & IDA in Children

The following statistics show the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in children around the world:

  • IDA affects approximately 750 million children worldwide;
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 293 million preschool-age children and 305 million school-age children are anemic.
  • The Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) in the United States found that 3% of children aged 12 to 36 months, and less than 1% of those in the 37 to 60 months group had IDA;
  • According to UNICEF, anemia, which increases the risk of hemorrhage and sepsis, is implicated in 20% of maternal deaths.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency in children – utilize this Symptoms Checker to help identify your child’s symptoms. If you suspect that your child may have iron deficiency, it is recommended to consult your child’s primary healthcare provider.

Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs

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