Iron fortified follow on formula from 9 to 18 months improves iron status but not development or growth: a randomised trial
- Ruth Morleyb,
- Rebecca Abbotta,
- Susan Fairweather-Taitc,
- Una MacFadyend,
- Terence Stephensone,
- Alan Lucasa
- aMRC Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK, bMenzies Centre for Population Health Research, Tasmania and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia, cInstitute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UA, UK, dStirling Royal Infirmary, Livilands, Stirling FK8 2AV, UK, eDepartment of Child Health, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
- Dr Morley. email:
- Accepted 10 May 1999
AIMS Iron deficiency anaemia is associated, in observational studies, with developmental disadvantage. This study tested the hypothesis that feeding iron supplemented formula from 9 to 18 months of age would improve developmental performance.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS 493 healthy children aged 9 months being fed pasteurised cows’ milk were recruited from three UK centres. They were randomised to: cows’ milk as before, formula containing 0.9 mg/litre iron, or formula containing 1.2 mg/litre iron, until 18 months of age. Bayley mental and psychomotor developmental indices were measured at 18 months, as were growth and haematological indices.
RESULTS Children fed iron fortified formula had higher plasma ferritin concentrations, but there were no significant intergroup differences in development or growth.
CONCLUSIONS There are no developmental or growth advantages in children given iron supplemented formula, but a benefit for a minority who were anaemic, or the possibility that a benefit may emerge at a later age, cannot be excluded.