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Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay

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ILLA, Martha et al. Estudio de la frecuencia y magnitud del déficit de hierro en niños de 6 a 24 meses de edad, usuarios de los servicios del Ministerio de Salud Pública. Arch. Pediatr. Urug. [online]. 2008, vol.79, n.1, pp. 21-31. ISSN 0004-0584.

Summary General objective: to contribute to the diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency in high-risk population groups, particularly infants and young children aged 6 to 24 months. Methodology: we studied a convenience sample of 444 healthy children, full term infants with a birthweight of 2500 g and more aged 6 to 24 months, in a survey performed at public health services in Montevideo, with general information, laboratory tests to assess iron status obtained by digital puncture, and food intake survey. Results: 63% of the children presented depleted iron stores and 54% had anemia, which was mild in 83% of cases. Low birth weight and high consumption of whole fluid milk (more than 700 ml per day), were identified as risk factors for iron deficiency, being in both cases the odds ratio higher than 2, with Cornfield significant confidence interval at 95%. Breastfeeding did not act as a protective factor for iron deficiency anemia because the anaemia frequency was similar in children breastfed and not breastfed. 65% of children had insufficient consumption of iron. Whole fluid pasteurized milk was the most frequently consumed food, which could therefore be used as a vehicle for fortification. Conclusions: we concluded that iron deficiency anemia was a serious problem in the study group and the hematological tests based on characteristics of red blood cells remains the chosen test to assess iron status in the primary health care due to the fact that red blood cell distribution width is a valid parameter, similar to ferritin for early diagnosis. We recommended the fortification of both whole fluid and powdered cow milk with iron to prevent this problem.


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