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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001 Apr;55(4):278-86.

Association between composition of the diet and haemoglobin and ferritin levels in 18-month-old children.

Author information

1
Unit of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, Division of Child Health, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the associations between composition of the diet at 18 months of age and ferritin and haemoglobin levels.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 796 children taking part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Food and nutrient intakes and haemoglobin and ferritin levels at 18 months.

METHODS:

Diet was assessed by a 3-day unweighed food record. A heel-prick capillary blood sample was taken for measurement of ferritin and haemoglobin.

RESULTS:

Ferritin levels were negatively associated with the amount of cows' milk consumed (r = -0.2462, P < 0.001) and calcium intake (equivalent to a 4-5% drop in ferritin levels for a 100 mg increase in energy-adjusted calcium intake). Haemoglobin levels were positively associated with energy-adjusted vitamin C intake and were higher in children who ate any fruit (P = 0.024) or any vegetables (P = 0.030). The associations between nutrient intakes and ferritin and haemoglobin levels remained on adjustment for socio-demographic factors. The prevalence of low haemoglobin levels was higher in those children who consumed no meat or poultry (28.8% vs 19.0% overall, P = 0.044).

CONCLUSIONS:

Higher levels of milk and dairy product consumption are associated with lower ferritin levels in children of this age, and over-reliance on these foods should be avoided. Fruit and vegetable consumption should be encouraged, and the inclusion of a little meat or fish in the diet of small children is advisable.

PMID:
11360132
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601155
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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