HC Deb 13 February 1997 vol 290 cc285-6W
Mr. Chris Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received regarding iron deficiency in children; and if he will make a statement. [14996]

Mr. Horam

We have received one letter since the beginning of the year. The prevalence of anaemia, which is the clinical manifestation of iron deficiency, has been monitored among young children by the "National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) of Children Aged 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years" published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1995. Seven per cent. of males and 9 per cent. of females aged one and a half to four and a half years had haemoglobin levels less than 11g/dl.

On 2 January 1997, fieldwork for the NDNS of young people aged four to 18 years started. This will include measures of iron status. The joint Department of Health-Medical Research Council nutrition research programme will be funding research to help develop better measures of iron status.

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy has agreed to convene an expert group to assess the iron status of the population. The group has not yet started work.

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