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News Release - Queen’s University researcher uncovers association between low family income and iron deficiency in children

Thursday, July 30, 2020

(July 30, 2020) New research from Queen’s University researcher Imaan Bayoumi has revealed that children whose annual family income is less than $40,000 have three times higher odds of having iron deficiency and four times higher odds of having iron deficient anemia. 

Iron deficiency is common in early childhood and is associated with poor developmental outcomes. Previous research has not accounted for other important contributing factors such as feeding practices, while others enrolled primarily very low-income families. To complete the research, Dr. Bayoumi enrolled families of healthy childrenwho were aged 12 to 29 months old, in a research network called TARGet Kids! She examined a number of factors including feeding practices. 

The new research suggests that targeting income security may be more effective than targeting access to food to reduce health inequities in the prevention of iron deficiency in young children.  

Dr. Bayoumi’s research was published in JAMA Network Open. 

“The College of Family Physicians of Canada recommends that primary care providers ask all their patients whether they are having difficulty making ends meet. Other health professional bodies have recommended screening families for food insecurity. Our study lends support to the approach of screening for financial hardship in general, rather than focusing on specific needs like food insecurity.” 

Dr. Imaan Bayoumi, Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s University 

JAMA Network Open 

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Anne Craig   
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