Pumping Iron: Why Iron-Rich Foods Are Crucial to a Child's Development

Worldwide, some 1.2 billion people suffer from iron deficiency, the leading cause of anemia. It’s particularly common in pregnant woman and children, and when it strikes during a child’s critical early years, it can have severe consequences for physical and cognitive development.

It is now well established that children aged six to nine months need seven times more iron than adults. So it’s essential to first inform consumers of this need and then help them meet it, by encouraging them to eat naturally iron-rich foods and by offering iron-fortified products. It’s also important to dispel the myth that all red foods are rich in iron.

In Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, Danone has been fighting anemia among infants since 2013, working on several fronts. We’re helping health professionals make a difference with a campaign that both educates young mothers about their nutritional needs during pregnancy and stresses the critical importance of breastfeeding, since children absorb iron best from breast milk. We’ve also highlighted the benefits of iron-fortified instant cereals, which can deliver 70% of children’s daily requirement for iron as they are weaned.

Our Phosphatine baby cereal is an ideal solution for meeting these needs. At Danone, we work constantly to make this type of product affordable for as many people as possible. We’ve now reduced the price of Phosphatine by around 30%, making it available to even the poorest families and raising the number of well-nourished children.