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 (24–59 months) or school-age (5–12 years) 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.
Systematic reviews used to develop guidelines
- Intermittent iron supplementation for improving nutrition and development in children under 12 years of age
Related Cochrane reviews
- Oral iron supplementation for preventing or treating anaemia among children in malaria-endemic areas
Other related systematic reviews
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