Daily iron supplementation in children 6-23 months of age
It is estimated that worldwide, 600 million preschool and school-age children are anaemic, and it is assumed that at least half of these cases are attributable to iron deficiency. Children are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency anaemia because of their increased iron requirements in the periods of rapid growth, especially in the first five years of life. Iron deficiency anaemia in children has been linked to increased childhood morbidity and impaired cognitive development and school performance.
Iron supplementation has proven to be effective in increasing haemoglobin concentrations in children, especially in those who are anaemic.
Daily iron supplementation is recommended as a public health intervention in infants and young children aged 6–23 months, living in settings where the prevalence of anaemia is 40% or higher in this age group, for preventing iron deficiency and anaemia.
Additional information for this recommendation, including a suggested scheme for supplementation, can be found in the guidance summary and in the guideline, under 'WHO documents' below.
Other guidance documents
Related Cochrane reviews
Oral iron supplements for children in malaria-endemic areas
Intermittent iron supplementation for improving nutrition and development in children under 12 years of age
Other related systematic reviews
Effect of daily iron supplementation on health in children aged 4–23 months: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Effect of iron supplementation on haemoglobin response in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials