Researchers from the University of Texas found that fat toddlers have a high rate of iron deficiency, and Hispanic youngsters are more affected by this than other groups. Iron deficiency can cause mental and behavior delay, and may hinder kids from being smart. Iron deficiency anemia in childhood can weaken the kid’s ability to learn, hamper school achievement and lower scores on mental and motor development. This is because lack of iron reduces the amount of oxygen that is carried by the blood through the body and into the brain.
Obese toddlers are more prone to iron deficiency because many of them are made to drink milk and bottled juice by their parents, instead of being weaned and introduced to iron-rich foods. Also, prolonged bottle-feeding, snacking and junk food intake might contribute to this condition.
Food rich in iron include meat, beans, eggs, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, and fortified bread. On the other hand, calcium, soy products, coffee, tea and even whole wheat bran bread have been found to interfere with the absorption of iron.
The researchers also found that kids attending daycare or preschool classes are less likely to be iron deficient, suggesting that kids in daycare have better diet. Hispanic youngsters were twice as likely to be iron deficient because they were less likely to attend preschool or daycare.
Dr. Jane Brobanek, the study’s co-author stated, “What you put in your baby’s bottle can affect your child’s future.”
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