The association between patterns of milk intake and anaemia was studied during a surveillance programme for iron deficiency anaemia. Children aged 8-24 months were examined when they attended a routine immunisation clinic. Haemoglobin was measured on finger prick blood samples using a portable haemoglobinometer, and a dietary questionnaire was completed, with special emphasis on the type and volume of milk intake and the age at which whole cows' milk was introduced. Anaemia (defined as a haemoglobin concentration of less than 110 g/l) was diagnosed in 33 children (22%) and was more common among children who were not white. Continued feeding with breast milk and the early introduction of whole cows' milk were associated with a significantly higher prevalence of anaemia. No child taking formula milk was anaemic. Asian children drank significantly more milk a day than other groups, but there was no correlation between daily milk intake and haemoglobin concentration.
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