Longer breastfeeding duration boosts risk of iron deficiency

April 17, 2013
Longer breastfeeding duration boosts risk of iron deficiency
Longer breastfeeding duration is associated with increased odds of iron deficiency in healthy children, according to a study published online April 15 in Pediatrics.

(HealthDay)—Longer breastfeeding duration is associated with increased odds of iron deficiency in healthy children, according to a study published online April 15 in Pediatrics.

Jonathon L. Maguire, M.D., from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 1,647 healthy children, aged 1 to 6 years (median age, 36 months) to examine the correlation between total breastfeeding duration and serum ferritin, iron deficiency, and iron deficiency anemia.

The researchers identified a significant correlation between increasing duration of breastfeeding and lower . For each additional month of breastfeeding, there was a 4.8 percent increase in the odds of iron deficiency. The cumulative probability of iron deficiency increased with longer total breastfeeding duration, with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.71 for children breastfed over versus under age 12 months. There was an association, which did not reach , between total breastfeeding duration and iron deficiency anemia.

"Our findings highlight a clinically important association warranting additional investigation, which may inform future guideline updates regarding assessment of risk for in young infants," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to that produce supplemental iron products.

Explore further: Routine iron fortification of infant formula linked to poorer development

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