Iron deficiency anaemia in children


Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficit worldwide and the most common cause of anaemia. Infection, chronic disease, and other nutritional deficiencies are also causes. In children, iron deficiency anaemia is usually due to rapid periods of growth with an increased demand for iron that cannot be met with an iron-poor diet. If not addressed, iron deficiency anaemia can lead to problems ranging from fatigue to cognitive impairment. Iron deficiency may respond to dietary measures, but an increase in dietary iron is not sufficient to replenish the iron stores in frank iron deficiency anaemia. Iron supplementation will be required.

This module covers the causes and implications of iron deficiency anaemia and provides strategies for diagnosis, management, and prevention. It is aimed at all clinicians working with children in Aboriginal health services. Given the prevalence of iron deficiency amongst children in some areas, all those working with children including those involved in health promotion, social and emotional wellbeing workers, and allied health professionals may find it informative.

Although iron deficiency anaemia is a very common presentation in primary care, the principles covered in this module are applicable across the health continuum.

This module is one of three modules related to iron deficiency. They are linked and it is recommended that participants undertake all three modules: Iron deficiency anaemia in adults, Iron deficiency anaemia in children and Intravenous iron – Safe administration.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of managing iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Explain how to achieve an iron-rich diet.
  • Recognise symptoms that could indicate iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Understand how to manage iron deficiency anaemia.
  • Discuss strategies to prevent iron deficiency anaemia.

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