Lesson 10 : Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA)


  1. Dietary improvement
    • Promoting the consumption of iron rich foods (whole grain cereals and pulses, whole grains, nuts, dates, jiggery and foods of animal origin.
    • Promoting the consumption of Vit C rich foods (amla, all citrus fruits, guava, green leafy vegetables, salads and seasonal fruits), which help in the absorption of non-haem iron.
    • Discouraging the consumption of tea or coffee, this reduces the absorption of non-haem iron.
    • Promoting the consumption of sprouted pulses regularly after giving some heat treatment which increases bioavailability of iron and it increases amount of Vitamin C and B complex vitamins in the grains and heating destroys the inhibiting factors.
    • Incorporating green leafy vegetables, seasonal vegetables and fruits in the diet of infants and preschool children, once or twice daily.

  2. Supplementation: In reproductive and child health programme, young children and adolescent girls are given iron and folic acid.

    Children <5 years are given 20 mg of elemental iron and 100 mg folic acid. To adolescent girls & pregnant women -one IFA tablet (100mg of elemental iron +500 µg of folic acid).

  3. Fortification: Fortification of foods with iron would act as a long term measure to improve the iron status of the entire population.

    Salt fortification with iron has been considered as one of the practical approaches for the prevention and control of iron deficiency anemia.

    Fortification with iron has been successfully tried for wheat flour, salt, rice, sugar, milk, fish, sauce and curry powder.

  4. Nutrition Education: Nutrition education related to iron and anemia prevention is a must.

      • Promotion of consumption of pulses, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables (which are rich in iron and folic acid) and animal foods rich in bioavailable iron, particularly by pregnant and lactating mothers.
      • Creation of awareness in mothers attending antenatal clinics, immunization services, anganwadi centers and crèches about the prevalence of anemia, ill effects of anemia and its preventable nature.

    • Addition of iron rich foods to the weaning foods of infants.
    • Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C such as oranges, guava, amla etc need to be encouraged to promote iron absorption.
    • Promotion of home gardening to increase the availability of common iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables.
    • Discouraging the consumption of foods and beverages like tea and tamarind that inhibits iron absorption essentially by the vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children
    • Control of parasitic worms and malaria.
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Last modified: Saturday, 3 December 2011, 5:00 AM