Intermittent iron supplementation in preschool and school-age children
Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia are highly prevalent among children. During childhood these conditions may impair growth, reduce motor and cognitive development, and increase morbidity and mortality from a variety of causes. Some of these consequences are lifelong if anaemia is not treated promptly.
Supplementation with iron once, twice or three times per week on non-consecutive days has been proposed as an effective and safe way to increase children's iron intake. These intermittent regimens may lead to fewer side effects than the daily regimen and increase adherence to supplementation.
In settings where the prevalence of anaemia in preschool or school-age children is 20% or higher, WHO recommends the intermittent use of iron supplements as a public health intervention to improve iron status and reduce the risk of anaemia among children.
- Oral iron supplementation for preventing or treating anaemia among children in malaria-endemic areas
- Intermittent iron supplementation for improving nutrition and development in children under 12 years of age
Other systematic reviews
Efficacy of intermittent iron supplementation in the control of iron deficiency anaemia in developing countries. An analysis of experience, final report to the Micronutrient Initiative [pdf 3.1Mb]
Effects of iron supplementation in nonanemic pregnant women, infants, and young children on the mental performance and psychomotor development of children: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Effect of iron supplementation on haemoglobin response in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.
Effect of iron supplementation on physical growth in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.