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Acta Paediatr. 1998 Jun;87(6):618-22.

Are weaning foods causing impaired iron and zinc status in 1-year-old Swedish infants? A cohort study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Umeå University, Sweden.


We analysed whether 12-month-old Swedish infants who have been fed iron-fortified and relatively zinc-rich foods, according to current recommendations, have adequate iron and zinc status. A cohort of 76 healthy, full term Swedish infants was followed regarding feeding habits and growth from birth to 12 months of age, when haemoglobin, iron and zinc status were evaluated. Twenty-six percent of the infants had low (<12 microg/l) s-ferritin values, indicative of iron depletion, and 36% of the infants had low s-zinc concentrations (<10.7 micromol/l). Only two infants had both low haemoglobin and low s-ferritin values. s-Zinc and s-iron were positively correlated, and s-zinc and s-transferrin receptor values were negatively correlated. Lower birthweight was associated with lower s-ferritin levels at 12 months in boys, and with increased s-transferrin receptor values in girls. Feeding habits during infancy were relatively homogeneous, dominated by breastfeeding, iron-fortified milk- and cereal-based follow-on formula. No clear association between feeding pattern and iron and zinc status was found. The results indicate that in a group of healthy, well growing 12-month-old Swedish infants one-quarter is iron-depleted, although iron deficiency anaemia is rare, and one-third may be zinc-depleted. The high cereal intake of Swedish infants from 6 months of age may have limited the bioavailability of both iron and zinc from the diet.

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