New York: Sprinkling a vitamin- and mineral-packed powder onto young kids` food may help prevent anemia in countries where many people don`t get enough iron, according to a new report.Kids with the extra nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamin A, were about 30 percent less likely to be anemic and 50 percent less likely to be iron deficient, researchers found.Their work sums up data from past studies of anemia and iron deficiency in babies and toddlers who received the vitamin boost compared with those who didn`t.For other aspects of nutrition or kids` development, there`s still not enough data to say if the supplements have an impact, according to the researchers, whose findings are published in The Cochrane Library."Anemia and iron deficiency probably are the most widespread nutritional deficiencies in the world," said study author Luz Maria de Regil, from the World Health Organization in Geneva.Half of all young kids are affected by an iron, zinc or vitamin A deficiency, she told a news agency, most of them in poor countries. The studies that she and her colleagues reviewed all took place in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.By the time babies are six months old, they are starting to run low on the iron reserves they were born with, researchers say.The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and continued breastfeeding until kids are at least two years old. During that in-between period, parents typically start to incorporate semi-solid food into babies` diets -- possibly offering an opportunity for the addition of extra sources of vitamins and minerals.
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