Scientists Establish Link Between Iron Deficiency And Childhood Obesity
September 5, 2007 7:27 a.m. EST
Nidhi Sharma - AHN News Writer
Washington D.C. (AHN) - Obese American kids run an alarmingly high risk of iron deficiency, a study by UT South western Medical Center researchers has found. The study, appearing in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, is the first to report an link between iron deficiency and childhood obesity among children as young as 1 to 3 years old.
A national survey of 1,641 toddlers has found that 20 percent of overweight toddlers to be iron-deficient compared to 8 percent of those at risk for being overweight, and 7 percent of normal-weight toddlers.
Iron-deficiency anemia in infancy and early childhood can also lead to delay in behavioral and cognitive development, including impaired learning, decreased school achievement, and lower scores on tests of mental and motor development.
Scientists also added that iron deficiency in kids can be attributed to parents who let their children drink cow's milk and juice from a bottle, instead of weaning them and introducing iron-rich foods.
Bottle-fed children tend to drink too much milk and juice, which are low in iron, and don't get enough solid food.
Comment by Russell Eaton: as explained in The Milk Imperative, many studies show that milk causes anemia in infants:
1. Dairy milk contains virtually no iron and therefore contributes nothing towards the prevention of anemia. The trace amount of iron that dairy milk contains (less than one milligram per quart) gets poorly absorbed: the indigestible protein in milk binds with the iron and leaves the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream.
2. Dairy milk makes an infant less interested in eating other foods that are good for body growth and that provide better sources of iron. This is so because dairy milk is filling, thus satiating feelings of hunger for more nutritious food.
3. Dairy milk causes some infants to lose iron from their intestines through intestinal bleeding (the harsh casein in milk irritates the delicate lining of the baby’s intestines). This bleeding is pervasive and usually not sufficiently severe to be noticed in stools, but enough to cause anemia. It is estimated that half the iron-deficiency in infants in the USA is from cow-milk induced intestinal bleeding! Many studies have been carried out that show how dairy milk causes intestinal bleeding. Here are extracts from some of these studies:
Milk consumption has been shown to cause intestinal bleeding, resulting in low hemoglobin count. The result: weakness, depression, irritability. (Robert Cohen, Milk A-Z, 2001, Argus Publishing, ISBN 0965919684).
Babies who are fed whole cow’s milk during the second six months of life may experience a 30% increase in intestinal blood loss and a significant loss of iron in their stools. (Journal of Pediatrics, 1990, 116).
Children with iron deficiency had a higher intake of cow’s milk compared to those with sufficient iron. Intake of cow’s milk is significantly higher in children with iron deficiency. (Acta Paediatrica, 1999 Dec, 88:12).
Cow’s milk-induced intestinal bleeding is a well-recognized cause of rectal bleeding in infancy. In all cases, bleeding resolved completely after instituting a cow’s milk-free diet. (Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 1999 Oct, 34:10).
Significant rectal bleeding is the most common symptom in cow’s milk allergy. (West Virginia Medical Journal, 1999 Sep-Oct; 95,5).
Cow’s milk has been linked to a variety of health problems, including hemoglobin loss, mood swings, depression, and irritability. (Townsend Medical Letter, May, 1995).
The association with anemia and acute intestinal bleeding in infants is known to all physicians. (Robert Cohen, Milk – The Deadly Poison, Argus Publishing, January 1, 1998, ISBN: 0965919609).