COMPARISON OF FREQUENCY OF IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA IN INFANTS ON EXCLUSIVE BREAST FEED, FORTIFIED MILK AND COW’S MILK
Objective: To determine the frequency of iron deficiency anemia in infants on exclusive breast feed, fortified milk and cow milk feeding regime.
Study Design: Observational cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Out Patient Department of Pak Emirates Military Hospital Rawalpindi, from Mar to Dec 2017.
Methodology: One hundred and fifty infants, fifty from each feeding regime were included in the study as per the inclusion criteria. Blood samples of infants were drawn after consent from parents for measurement of serum ferritin and blood counts.
Results: One hundred and fifty infants were included in the study with 89 male and 61 females with mean age of 7.77 months. One hundred and thirteen infants were found to anemic (75.3%) and iron deficiency was present in 6.7% of the cases. Mean Hb was 9.49 g/dl, mean MCV 66.15 fl and mean ferritin level was 25.81 ng/ml. There was a strong association between type of feeding regime and frequency of anemia among infants (p<0.001) with children consuming fortified milk having highest levels of Hb, MCV and ferritin levels, followed by mother feed and cow/buffalo milk.
Conclusion: Consumption of cow milk in infancy has detrimental effects on blood indices and serum ferritin. Breast milk is still considered the best source for nutrition however iron fortification after fourth month is recommended. Radical short and long term measures are required nationwide to overcome the menace of Iron deficiency which is still quite prevalent in our children.