Inga Elksne (Coresponding Author), Ieva Strēle, Inese Siksna, Dace Gardovska

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Infants experience rapid growth and development during their first year of life. The objective of the study was to investigate the early dietary habits of Latvian infants and their relation to iron metabolism. The study was composed of Study A "Research on eating habits of infants living in Latvia"(n = 344) and Study B "Research on the association between eating habits of infants living in Latvia and iron metabolism"(n = 73). 89% of infants (n = 18) were breastfed (BF) in the first month, and 21% (n =15) were exclusively BF for the first six months. The average age for introducing complementary food was five months. Iron intake was on average 7.4 mg. Iron deficiency (ID) was in 9.6% (n = 7) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in 4.1% (n = 3) of infants. The blood iron level was lower in 30% (n = 8) of infants fed with cow's milk. For infants who obtained iron predominantly from non-Animal products, serum ferritin (SF) was within normal range. SF was within the normal range for 93% (n = 26) of infants who did not consume legumes. Dietary habits of infants in Latvia partly correspond to the guidelines. 63% of infants did not consume enough iron from food and ID was observed in 9.6% of infants and IDA in 4.1%. A lower iron level in blood occurred in breastfed infants and in infants for whom cow's milk was introduced at an early stage; a lower mean corpuscular volume level was observed in infants whose exclusive breast-feeding continued for at least the first four months; lower SF occurred in breastfed infants, in at least the first four months for exclusively breastfed infants, and in infants for whom whose legumes had been introduced in diet. A higher level of soluble transferrin receptors was observed in infants who were not first-born.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • breastfeeding
  • eating habits
  • iron deficiency
  • nutrition

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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