child screening programme
Iron Deficiency Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition that occurs when there is a lack of red blood cells in the body. There are several types of anaemia and the most common is known as iron deficiency anaemia. This is where the body lacks enough iron to keep the red blood cells functioning properly. In children, it is usually due to eating a diet that has too little iron in it.
Read more about iron deficiency anaemia on the NHS website.
UK NSC screening recommendation
A national screening programme for Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) in Children under 5 Years of Age is not recommended. This is because:
- there is a lack of evidence that low levels of iron in the blood causes children under the age of 5 to develop at a slower rate than expected.
- the current screening test involves taking a blood sample. This can be distressing for the child.
- some children can have IDA without being ill. The benefit of treating these children is unclear.
In the absence of screening, the most important factor should continue to be preventing children from developing Iron Deficiency Anaemia by providing good dietary advice.
Supporting documents from the 2017 review
Evidence summary Iron Deficiency Anaemia (2017)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.
UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses Iron Deficiency Anaemia (2017)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.
Date previous review completed: 2017
Next review estimated to be completed: 2024 to 2025.
To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.
Organisations interested in Iron Deficiency Anaemia
These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.
List of organisations
- Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
- British Association of Perinatal Medicine
- British Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society
- Faculty of Public Health
- Institute of Child Health
- National Childbirth Trust
- Royal College of General Practitioners
- Royal College of Midwives
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Royal College of Physicians
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
- Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh