Introduction: Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common anemia
worldwide. It adversely affects the physical growth, cognition, behavior and the
immune status of infants and children. There are limited number of studies
in Nepal analyzing its prevalence, risk factors and diagnosis in pediatric
population. Restriction of analgesics intake, increased intake of iron rich food
and deworming are important determinants in the disease management.
Methods: Hospital based prospective comparative study was conducted
in the Department of Pediatrics in Manipal Teaching Hospital from December
2014 to December 2016 enrolling all children aged 6 months to 5 years with
anemia. Demographic profile, clinical features and information regarding risk
factors were noted along with detailed physical examination. Iron profile was
done to confirm diagnosis of IDA. Data was analyzed using SPSS 21.
Results: Out of 168 anemic children, 110 (65.45%) children were diagnosed
as IDA. Dietary factors, pica and intake of analgesics/antipyretics were major
risk factors. Serum iron, serum ferritin, transferrin saturation were low whereas
total iron binding capacity was high in IDA.
Conclusion: Iron deficiency anemia is a common, preventable and easily
treatable disease which has potentially serious consequences if not treated.
Non compliance to exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life,
introduction of cow’s/buffalo’s milk in the first year, pica and rampant use of
analgesics/antipyretics are major risk factors.

Keywords: Iron deficiency anemia, pica, serum ferritin, transferrin saturation