Childhood anemia in Peru: What are the consequences on the development of boys and girls?

Childhood anemia in Peru: What are the consequences on the development of boys and girls?
Childhood anemia in Peru: What are the consequences on the development of boys and girls?

The childhood anemiaunfortunately, stands as a persistent shadow on the health of children in many parts of the world, including Peru, where It affects 4 out of 10 infantsAccording to data from the Demographic and Family Health Survey (Endes) of the INEI.

The childhood anemia It is a challenge that transcends the physical, leaving deep marks on the cognitive development of the little ones. It can even undermine the educational potential of an entire generation and affect the productivity of an entire country’s workforce.

Three serious consequences of childhood anemia

Dr. Ana Ramos, medical director of Pacífico Salud, points out that international studies show a decrease in IQ, alterations in memory, learning, attention and cognitive functions up to a decade after the correction. iron deficiency in children.

Some of the main consequences of untreated childhood anemia are:

1. Impact on cognitive development

Anemia can negatively affect brain development, leading to problems with learning, memory, attention and lower IQ. This can persist throughout childhood and even affect long-term academic performance.

“The successful neurodevelopment of the child is closely related not only to genetics, but also to adequate nutrition, as well as a stimulating environment that surrounds the child and greater production of neuronal synapses. Iron deficiency before the age of 2 affects the formation of myelin in brain neurons and therefore deficiencies in cognition and school performance from 4 to 19 years,” says the specialist.

2. Decreased ability to concentrate

Anemic children may have difficulty concentrating, which affects their ability to learn and participate in school activities. This can impact their socialization and emotional development.

In this regard, Dr. Ramos indicates that anemia is a disease that when mild does not present many manifestations; But as it becomes more pronounced, some changes can be observed in the child’s behavior, poor school performance and low energy.

3. Loss of productivity and future opportunities

Anemia can influence work performance due to the cognitive and physical limitations it generates in childhood. This can lead to lower productivity and, consequently, a loss of job opportunities and reduced income throughout life.

According to the study “Reversing productivity losses from iron deficiency: the economic case” by the Asian Development Bank and UNICEF, the direct effects of anemia on productivity are found in the ability to perform physical work and earn income. The results show losses of between 10% and 17% in wages for those with iron deficiency who perform moderately active and heavy physical work, respectively.

In young children, iron deficiency can manifest as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.Source: Shutterstock

What can we do to confront childhood anemia?

To address the childhood anemia, it is essential to implement preventive and treatment actions. Promoting a diet rich in iron is essential; This involves including foods such as red meat, liver, legumes, spinach and fortified cereals in children’s daily diet.

At the same time, it is crucial to encourage regular medical check-ups, where tests are performed to detect anemia early and appropriate treatment, including iron supplements, is administered under medical supervision.

Finally, Dr. Ramos suggests that, as part of preventive measures, parents, caregivers, and health professionals be educated about the importance of identifying early signs of anemia and how to act quickly, implementing healthy eating and screening. regular medical.

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