Iron awareness week is timely reminder to all

7 April 2014

If anyone knows the importance of Iron in pregnancy it’s Kendall Sigurdsson, she’s a dietitian at Taranaki DHB working in paediatrics, and a pregnant mother with a toddler as well.

Kendall has been involved in a study with Otago University assessing the iron status of around 220 South Island toddlers. The conclusion was that the iron levels for the children drinking fortified milk increased 44% while they stayed the same for those fed red meat and fell for those on regular milk powder.

“The scary stats show that 1 in 14 women are low in iron, 8/10 toddlers don’t meet the recommended daily intake of dietary iron, 14% children under the age of 2 are iron deficient, at 7 months,” said Kendall.  “A baby needs more iron than her dad, as iron is crucial for brain development in babies and toddlers and over a third of teenage girls don’t get their daily iron.”

 What’s the big deal if you become iron deficient?
“Every part of your body needs iron, as it’s essential for good health and wellbeing as it carries oxygen to the brain and muscles, so being deficient in iron could slow brain development, impair cognitive function, and cause behavioural problems in children.

“As a Dietitian and mum on a budget, you don’t want to rely on expensive formula to give your toddler enough iron, you want to introduce children to meat as early as 6 months, as that’s when their stores run out, so I encourage patience and perseverance,” she said.

“Feeding meat (I had to persevere) helped our daughter’s transition into family meals easier, and gave her access to other nutrients contained in a meal.

“I have never had a problem with iron, if anything it was on the high end of the spectrum, until I was pregnant, and found that my levels plummeted, and until I increased my iron intake, I was very tired and lethargic. 
“This pregnancy I have ensured my intake of lean high quality red meat has been adequate (3-4 x a week) plus eating a wide variety of other foods,” she said.


For further information please call

Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014

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