Published in Health and Wellness
Iron supplementation provides cognitive and physical benefits to anaemic children
Giving primary-school age children iron supplements has been shown to be both safe and beneficial in a recent systematic review and meta analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal 
The study, published by Pasricha et al. at the University of Melbourne, Australia, analysed data from 32 studies and included more than 7,000 children (3837 randomised to iron supplements and 3252 to control), the majority of whom were located in low- and middle-income countries.  Prevalence of anaemia was defined as haemoglobin <120g/L or as defined by the authors. The results showed that anaemic children who received iron supplements had higher cognitive scores than children in the control groups, showed ‘substantial’ improvement in IQ scores and also had improved height and weight, when compared to children who did not receive the supplements.  Pasricha et al. note that world-wide, it is estimated that around 25 % of school-aged children are anaemic, with iron deficiency being the cause in approximately half of cases.  Results of this report indicate that daily iron supplementation has a dramatic effect on the prevalence of anaemia and iron deficiency, which were reduced by 50 % and 79 % respectively.  Importantly, no adverse effects were noted between the groups that received iron and the control groups, where previous concerns regarding the prevalence of malaria or gastrointestinal issues may have limited efforts to address iron deficiencies in children of this age.  In addition, some studies reported observing fewer respiratory tract infections in the groups taking the iron supplements.

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