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Iron deficiency in healthy 18-month-old Danish children is associated with no oral iron supplementation in infancy and prolonged exclusive breast-feeding

  • Anh Thao N. Andersen (a1), Steffen Husby (a1) (a2), Henriette B. Kyhl (a2) (a3), Maria B. Sandberg (a4), Stine D. Sander (a1) and Christian Mølgaard (a1) (a2) (a5)...


Fe deficiency (ID) defined as plasma ferritin <12 µg/l is associated with delayed cognitive development in early childhood and increased incidence of infections; however, the longitudinal association between early-life factors and ID in 18-month-old children in Denmark is unknown. The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of ID and to describe risk factors associated with ID in healthy 18-month-old Danish children. Blood samples, anthropometric measurements and self-reported questionnaire data had been obtained in the birth cohort, Odense Child Cohort. The questionnaires were modified from those used in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Plasma ferritin and C-reactive protein in venous, non-fasting samples were analysed in the final sample size of 370 children after exclusion of seventy-nine children due to chronic disease, acute infection, C-reactive protein >10 mg/l, twin birth or prematurity. Associations with ID were analysed by logistic regression, adjusting for sex, maternal education, duration of partial breast-feeding and current intake of milk, fish and meat. Overall, fifty-six children had ID (15·1 %). Factors associated with increased risk were exclusive breast-feeding beyond 4 months (OR 5·97; 95 % CI 1·63, 21·86) and no intake of oral Fe supplements from 6 to 12 months (OR 3·99, 95 % CI 1·33, 11·97. Duration of partial breast-feeding and current diet was not associated with ID. In conclusion, the ID prevalence was 15·1 %, and both exclusive breast-feeding beyond 4 months and no intake of oral Fe supplements from 6 to 12 months were associated with increased risk of ID in 18-month-old children.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Christian Mølgaard, email


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Iron deficiency in healthy 18-month-old Danish children is associated with no oral iron supplementation in infancy and prolonged exclusive breast-feeding

  • Anh Thao N. Andersen (a1), Steffen Husby (a1) (a2), Henriette B. Kyhl (a2) (a3), Maria B. Sandberg (a4), Stine D. Sander (a1) and Christian Mølgaard (a1) (a2) (a5)...


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