Fat Toddlers Linked to Iron Deficiency In Recent Study - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fat Toddlers Linked to Iron Deficiency In Recent Study

CHICAGO (AP) - A new study says pudgy toddlers have an alarmingly high rate of iron deficiency.

The study in this month's issue of the Journal Pediatrics is the first to discover a link between obesity and low iron levels in preschoolers.

Iron deficiency can cause mental and behavioral delays, so the findings underscore the importance of healthy eating habits in children ages 1 to 3.

The researchers found that 20 percent of obese toddlers have iron deficiency, compared to seven percent of normal-weight toddlers.

Experts blame parents who bottle-feed toddlers cow's milk and juice, which are low in iron, instead of weaning them and introducing iron-rich foods.

The researchers also found that children who attend day care centers are about 50 percent less likely to have iron deficiency than children who aren't in day care.