Iron and vitamin D defiency in healthy young children in Western-Europe despite current nutrional recommendations

M.D. Akkermans, Judith van der Horst, S.R.B.M. Eussen, J.B. van Goudoever, M.D. Brus

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Iron deficiency (ID) and vitamin D deficiency (VDD) are the 2 most common micronutrient deficiencies in young children worldwide and may lead to impaired neurodevelopment and rickets, respectively. Risk factors for ID and VDD differ between populations. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for ID and VDD in 12- to 36-month-old children in Western Europe. METHODS: This study took place in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2014. A venous blood sample was taken to establish iron and vitamin D status. ID was defined as serum ferritin <12 μg/L in the absence of infection (high sensitivity C-reactive protein <10 mg/L). VDD was defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D <50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL). Furthermore, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their child's demographic- and socioeconomic characteristics, food intake, sun exposure, and medical history. RESULTS: In 325 children (white race 95%, boys 56%, mean age 20.7 months) the overall prevalence of ID and VDD was 11.8% and 22.8%, respectively. The use of primarily cow's milk as major type of milk was associated with ID (odds ratio [OR] 3.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12-8.53) and VDD (OR 7.17, 95% CI 3.10-16.57). The use of vitamin D supplements (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.07-0.56) was associated with a lower prevalence of VDD. CONCLUSION: Despite current nutritional recommendations, ID and VDD are common in healthy young white children. Health programs focusing on adequate iron and vitamin D intake at an early age should be implemented to prevent deficiencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-642
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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