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HHS HealthBeat (January 25, 2012)

Babies’ iron balance

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Breastfeeding is best for babies, although many babies grow on formula. But a study indicates it’s important for formula-fed babies to get exactly what they need.

Betsy Lozoff of the University of Michigan looked at babies in Chile who got iron-fortified formula; among other things, iron helps the brain develop. Lozoff checked their scores on things like intelligence, memory and coordination 10 years later. She found differences based on formula iron levels and infant blood count:

“Children with high hemoglobin had lower 10-year test scores if they received iron-fortified formula, whereas those with low hemoglobin did better.  (8 seconds)

The study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January 25, 2012