e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

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.

WHO recommendations

In settings where the prevalence of anaemia in children approximately 1 year of age is above 40% or the diet does not include foods fortified with iron, supplements of iron at a dosage of 2 mg/kg of body weight per day should be given to all children between 6 and 23 months of age.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available

Other guidance documents


Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

2 October 2015 10:48 CEST

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee

Essential Nutrition Actions

This intervention is an Essential Nutrition Action targeting the first 1000 days of life.