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Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Infancy and Social Emotional Development in Preschool-Aged Chinese Children

Authors Suying Chang,  Li Wang, Yuying Wang, Inge D. Brouwer, Frans J. Kok, Betsy Lozoff and Chunming Chen, compared affect and behavior of 3 groups of nonanemic 4-year-old children: children with iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) in infancy whose anemia was not corrected before 24 months (chronic IDA) (n = 27); children with IDA in infancy whose anemia was corrected before 24 months (corrected IDA) (n = 70); and children who were nonanemic in infancy and at 24 months (n = 64). Results showed that children who had chronic IDA in infancy displayed less positive affect, less frustration tolerance, more passive behavior, and more physical self-soothing in the stranger approach and delay of gratification. In contrast, the behavior and affect of children whose anemia was corrected before the age of 24 months were comparable to those of children who were nonanemic throughout infancy indicating the potential benefits of preventing iron deficiency in infancy and treating it before it becomes chronic or severe.