Importance of dietary sources of iron in infants and toddlers: Lessons from the FITS Study

Kristen Finn, Cheryl Callen, Jatinder Bhatia, Kathleen Reidy, Lori J. Bechard, Ryan Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Iron deficiency (ID) affects 13.5% of 1-2 years old children in the US and may have a negative impact on neurodevelopment and behavior. Iron-fortified infant cereal is the primary non-heme iron source among infants aged 6-11.9 months. The objective of this study was to compare iron intakes of infant cereal users with non-users. Data from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study 2008 were used for this analysis. Based on a 24-h recall, children between the ages of 4-17.9 months were classified as ‘cereal users’ if they consumed any amount or type of infant cereal and ‘non-users’ if they did not. Infant cereal was the top source of dietary iron among infants aged 6-11.9 months. The majority of infants (74.6%) aged 6-8.9 months consumed infant cereal, but this declined to 51.5% between 9-11.9 months and 14.8% among 12-17.9 months old toddlers. Infant cereal users consumed significantly more iron than non-users across all age groups. Infants and toddlers who consume infant cereal have higher iron intakes compared to non-users. Given the high prevalence of ID, the appropriate use of infant cereals in a balanced diet should be encouraged to reduce the incidence of ID and ID anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number733
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anemia
  • Cereal
  • Dietary intake
  • Feeding practices
  • Infant
  • Iron
  • Nutrition
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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