Influence of Iron Deficiency Anemia on Growth: A Cross‑Sectional Study


Background: The most important risk factors for iron deficiency (ID) and ID anemia (IDA) are poor iron intake, low bioavailability of iron,chronic loss from the body, and some specific periods of life when the iron requirement is so much like growth during childhood and pregnancy.Objective: In this study, the effect of IDA on physical growth was investigated in children through finding out associations between differentgrowth parameters and IDA. Materials and Methods: In this cross‑sectional study, we measured growth parameters in fifty children with IDAbefore and for 6 months’ postiron therapy in comparison with fifty age‑ and sex‑matched normal controls. Annualized growth velocity and bodymass index (BMI) were calculated from measured growth parameters. Red blood cell indices and serum ferritin were measured. After a 6 months’period (October 1, 2018–March 1, 2019) from starting treatment of the anemic group, growth parameters and the hematological assessment weremeasured again. Results: Mean age and standard deviation for cases were 19.1 ± 12.7 months while that of controls were 19.2 ± 12.4 months,and there was no significant difference regarding age distribution P > 0.05. Before the treatment, children with IDA were significantly shorterin comparison to age‑ and sex‑matched controls. The BMI of anemic group increased significantly P < 0.05. Weight, length, and occipitofrontalcircumference were also significantly increased after iron therapy P < 0.0001. After receiving therapy, serum ferritin was significantly correlatedwith growth velocity and BMI for the anemic group: (r = 0.853 P < 0.0001) and (r = 0.460 P < 0.001), respectively. After treatment, the anemicgroup had a growth velocity 5.2 ± 1.8 which was faster than that of nonanemic one 3.4 ± 1.8, P < 0.0001. Conclusion: This study documenteda positive effect of IDA on physical growth in children, especially during the first 2 years of life during which growth is fast.