Ironation Newsletter

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Iron is an important micronutrient essential for growth, cognition, and development of mental and motor skills. Iron deficiency is the biggest public health challenge in the Indian context. The nutrient gap for iron is the largest during the period of transition from breastfeeding to complementary feeding. There is a great sense of urgency, since 94% of iron gaps need to be filled by complementary foods. Therefore, infants should ideally be provided the most nutrient-rich foods available in the household. Even upon doing so, home-based foods fail to meet the iron requirements of the growing infant. The problem is further compounded by the limited digestive capacity of infants. Current evidence indicates that food fortification is a cost-effective strategy for addressing iron deficiency, especially in infants and young children.