HC Deb 27 January 2003 vol 398 c676W
Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence he has assessed concerning the introduction of cows' milk in infant diets before the age of two and the incidence of iron deficiency anaemia. [91077]

Ms Blears

The Department undertakes regular surveys to monitor the diet and health of children. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed that more than one in ten children aged 1½to 2½ years were anaemic. Early introduction of cow's milk is associated with increased risk of anaemia. The Infant Feeding Survey 2000 reported that by the age of nine months 54 per cent. had introduced cow's milk, compared to 61 per cent. in 1995, while 8 per cent. were giving cow's milk as a main drink, compared to 15 per cent. in 1995.

The Department recommends that unmodified cow's milk be given as a main drink only after the age of one year and may be used in small quantities in the preparation of solid foods in the second half of infancy. After one year, diet should include a variety of foods to ensure that it is adequate in iron, vitamin C and D.

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