• Iron deficiency;
  • iron status;
  • anaemia;
  • haemoglobin;
  • serum ferritin

An adequate iron status is of vital importance for health and development in infancy and early childhood. Iron status was evaluated in a group of full-term Norwegian children followed longitudinally, at the ages of 6 mo (n= 278), 12 mo (n= 249) and 24 mo (n= 231) by measuring haemoglobin (Hb), mean cell volume (MCV) and serum ferritin. At 6, 12 and 24 mo of age, 3, 10 and 12%, respectively, had iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) defined as Hb <110 g/l in combination with ferritin <15 μg/l. With more restrictive criteria for defining IDA 10 μg/l) increased from 2 to 3% at 6 mo, from 5 to 7% at 12 mo and from 9 to 13% at 24 mo.

Conclusion: Mild iron deficiency anaemia exists among otherwise healthy Norwegian infants and toddlers. The prevention and early treatment of iron deficiency should be a priority for the child health services.