Study of iron deficiency anemia in infants of 3 to 6 months age group and its risk factors: a cross sectional study

Varun Ganjigunta, Varsha Suresh Ahirrao, Premalatha R., Ravichander B.


Background: Iron deficiency anemia in 3-6 months-old infants is often neglected. Its presence in healthy infant of less than 6 months of age is largely debated. Neglecting IDA in this critical phase of growth can lead to serious consequences. The aim and objective of the study was to estimate the frequency of IDA in 3-6 months old infants, admitted in rural tertiary care hospital and to study its risk factors.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted in the pediatric department of rural tertiary care hospital. 100 infants in the age group 3-6 months were included in the study. Relevant maternal and infant factors were noted. CBC with blood indices, peripheral blood smear and reticulocyte count were studied. Anemia in them was defined as hemoglobin <9.5 g/dl. IDA was diagnosed based in history, examination, indices, and peripheral smear.

Results: 22% of infants of 3-6 months had IDA. 40.9% of infants with IDA were low birth weight compared to 11.5% without IDA (p value<0.05). All pre-terms included in the study had IDA. 16% of term, normal birth weight, exclusively breast-fed infants had IDA. Underweight and stunting were seen in 31.8 % and 30.8% of IDA infants compared to 9% and 5.4% of infants without IDA.

Conclusions: IDA was quite common in infants less than 6 months and also seen in healthy, term and exclusively breast-fed babies, so universal iron supplementation before 6 months need to be considered in National Iron plus Initiative in India. Preterm, LBW babies and babies with NICU stay are at higher risk of IDA. 


Iron deficiency anemia, 3-6 months

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