Throughout the world, the most common nutritional deficiency disorder of infants is iron deficiency. Developing effective strategies for preventing iron deficiency requires detailed knowledge of iron retention under ordinary living conditions. For the adult population, such knowledge is at an advanced stage, but relatively little is known about infants. Many reports of iron retention by infants have been based on the assumption that, as in normal and iron-deficient adults, 80%–100% of newly absorbed iron is promptly incorporated into circulating erythrocytes, but this assumption is not supported by available data. This communication presents a review of iron retention by term and preterm infants, as determined by metabolic balance studies or 59Fe whole-body counting studies, and it explores the relationship between iron retention and postnatal age, iron nutritional status, iron intake (or dose), and type of feeding.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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