Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 91, Issue 6, pp 407–410 | Cite as

Anemia and Iron Status in Inuit Infants from Northern Quebec

  • Noreen D. Willows
  • Éric Dewailly
  • Katherine Gray-DonaldEmail author


The iron status and diet of Inuit infants living in northern Quebec who were part of a prospective cohort study was described. The prevalence of anemia (hemoglobin values >2SD below the reference mean) was 21.1% (23/109), 47.4% (55/116) and 37.7% (46/122) at 2, 6 and 12 months, respectively. The corresponding prevalence of microcytic anemia was 0.0%, 4.3% and 21.3%. At 2, 6 and 12 months, iron-deficiency anemia (serum ferritin < 10 μg/L coupled with anemia) was present in 1.3% (1/79), 24.4% (21/86) and 26.3% (25/95) of infants, respectively. Compared with breastfeeding, the odds ratio for iron deficiency (serum ferritin < 10 μg/L) for bottle-feeding with cows’ milk or low iron formula was 3.02 (95% CI 1.25–7.27) at 6 months and 3.05 (95% CI 1.28–7.28) at 12 months. This study shows iron-deficiency anemia to be a problem in Inuit infants as young as 6 months old. Breastfed infants were better protected against iron deficiency than infants fed cow’s milk or low-iron formula.


Le statut nutritionnel en fer et les apports alimentaires chez les nourrissons vivant dans le nord du Québec qui faisaient parti d’une étude de cohorte ont été décrit. La prévalence de l’anémie (hémoglobine >2SD au-dessous de la référence moyenne) était de 21,1 % (23/109), 47,4 % (55/116) et 37,7 % (46/122) à 2, 6 et 12 mois respectivement. La prévalence correspondante d’anémie microcitique était de 0,0 %, 4,3 % et 21,3 %. À 2, 6 et 12 mois, l’anémie dû à la carence en fer (sérum ferritin < 10μg/L couplé à l’anémie) était respectivement présente chez 1,3 % (1/79), 24,4 % (21/86) et 26,3 % (25/95) des nourrissons. Comparativement à l’allaitement, les chances de carence en fer pour les enfants nourrissons nourris au lait de vache ou au lait maternisé faible en fer, était de 3,02 (95 % CI 1,25-7,27) à 6 mois et 3,05 (95 % CI 1,28–7,28) à 12 mois. Cette étude démontre que l’anémie dû à la carence en fer est un problème chez les nourrissons Inuits aussi jeune que 6 mois. Les nourrissons allaités étaient mieux protégés contre la carence en fer que les nourrissons nourris au lait de vache ou au lait maternisé faible en fer.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen D. Willows
    • 1
  • Éric Dewailly
    • 2
  • Katherine Gray-Donald
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Dietetics and Human NutritionMcGill UniversityCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LavalQuebecCanada

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