Toddler, Child
11th Aug 2020

As a parent, you may be familiar with the importance of iron for supporting your child’s health and development. But, when you’re at the table and your kid is flatly refusing to eat their dinner no matter how hard you try, it can be easy for this essential mineral to slip your mind.

If this situation rings a bell, you’re not alone. That’s why over 30% of the world’s population experience low iron levels. That’s over 2 billion people! (1)

What Are the Common Causes of Low Levels of Iron?

Low iron levels may be caused by a number of different factors in your child’s life. These include:

  • If they have had a high intake of cow’s milk and they are under two years old
  • If they have little or no meat in their diet (2)
  • If they are vegan or vegetarian

A lot of different things can contribute to fussy eating, so if you have any concerns about your child’s health, talk to your health professional.

What Do Low Iron Levels Look Like?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know whether your child is experiencing inadequate iron levels. Symptoms vary from child to child, so if you suspect your little one’s iron intake may be inadequate talk to your health professional.

You may wish to discuss the following common signs of inadequate iron levels during your appointment (2):

  • Behavioural problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strange ‘food’ cravings (pica)
  • Tiredness

Remember, if you notice or are concerned about any of these symptoms, your first point of call should be your doctor.

How Do They Test for Iron Levels in Children?

A blood test will be able to let your health professional know if your child is low in iron.

Once the results are in, your doctor will then help you to determine the best course of action to help rectify it.

Depending on the results, you may simply need to adjust their diet to include more iron-rich foods. Or an iron supplement for children may be recommended.


  1. World Health Organisation 2017, Micronutrient Deficiencies, “Iron Deficiency Anaemia”,
  2. Better Health Victoria 2012, Iron Deficiency – Children

If you found this information useful you may enjoy the following:

Important Minerals For Your Child (And How To Help Them Get Enough)

Nutrient Bioavailability: What It Is And Why It’s Important

4 Simple Ways To Help Your Child Overcome Fussy Eating