According to doctors it is imperative that global guidelines for giving iron and folic acid supplements to young children should be revised. The reason is that since they might be dangerous for some youngsters.
This important aspect was brought forth by researchers from the United States and Tanzania. They called for the rethink after discovering that the supplements can cause severe illness and death if they are given to children in areas with high rates of malaria.
According to Professor Robert Black, of Johns Hopkins University ,"Current guidelines for universal supplementation with iron and folic acid should be revised".
The scientists called for the change after studying more than 24,000 young children in Pemba, Zambia. The scientists stopped the iron and folic acid arms of the study early after discovering that children taking the supplements had a 12 percent higher risk of being hospitalized with severe illness than those in the placebo group.
Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional problem in the world. It affects 4-5 billion people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"Our findings indicate a potential risk of routine supplementation with iron and folic acid in pre-school children in a population with high rates of malaria and other infections," Black said.