Iron deficiency results in lethargy, poor appetite, eating soil (pica) and poor school performance. If the iron deficiency is severe enough, anaemia will develop as the result of inadequate amounts of iron to produce normal red cells. Therefore, anaemia is the commonest clinical presentation of iron deficiency. However, children with mild iron deficiency may not yet be anaemic and the diagnosis of iron deficiency is often missed.
Mild iron deficiency, (i.e. without anaemia), is usually managed by improving the diet to make sure the child receives adequate amounts of iron. Meat, eggs and green vegetables are rich in iron.