Growth is particularly rapid during infancy and during puberty. Blood volume and body iron are directly related to body weight throughout life. Each kilogram gain in weight requires an increase of 35-45 mg body iron.

The amount of iron in the newborn is 75 mg/kg. If no iron is present in the diet or if blood loss occurs, the iron stores present at birth will be depleted by 6 months in a full-term infant and by 3-4 months in a premature infant.

The most common cause of iron-deficiency anemia is inadequate intake during the rapidly growing years of infancy and childhood.

Table 3-3. Iron Content of Infant Foods


Iron, mg



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