Iron deficiency remains the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It has been linked to behavioral and learning problems among children and adolescents, increased risks for pre-term and small infants among pregnant women, and problems with work and exercise capacity among adults.
Overweight children and adolescents also appear to have an increased iron deficiency according to a new study. Results of the study show children at risk for being overweight or who are overweight are twice as likely to be iron-deficient than those who are not overweight.
In a sample of 9,698 children, iron deficiency was most prevalent among overweight youth ages 12 to 16 years. Overall, the prevalence of iron deficiency increased as body mass index increased from normal weight to overweight.
Based on their findings, researchers suggest guidelines for iron deficiency screening may need modification to include children with elevated body mass index. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend iron deficiency screening for infants ages 9 months to 12 months, high-risk toddlers, and adolescent females.