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Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficiency Anemia

Commentary by Jason Payne, MD, MSPH
Published February 2024

Anemia is a condition in which the hemoglobin concentration or red blood cell numbers are lower than normal and are inadequate to meet the demands of the body. This widespread condition affects one-third of the global population, negatively affecting morbidity and mortality across all ages, particularly women and children. Not only is anemia associated with poor birth outcomes such as low birth weight, but its neurocognitive effects are also broader, including decreased work productivity in adults and impaired cognitive and behavioral development in children. As pediatricians, anemia (particularly iron deficiency anemia) is considered a bread-and-butter diagnosis every pediatrician should be familiar with recognizing, diagnosing, and treating. This module will outline the important features every pediatrician should be familiar with when diagnosing anemia and iron deficiency within the first 1,000 days of life.

Keywords: nutrient deficiency; diet; vitamin c; anemia of prematurity; food insecurity

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