USPSTF: No Need to Screen for Iron Deficiency Anemia

Lara C. Pullen, PhD

September 08, 2015

The US Preventive Services Task Force has posted its final recommendation statements for screening for iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in children and pregnant women. The recommendation statement for screening for IDA in young children (aged 6 - 24 months) was published online September 7 in Pediatrics. The recommendation on screening for IDA and iron supplementation in pregnant women was published online September 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Because of a lack of evidence, the task force was unable to determine the balance of benefits and harms for either routine screening of pregnant women for IDA or use of iron supplements during pregnancy. The task force does not recommend against screening the patient populations, but it does call for more research into the value of screening. The recommendations are not applicable to individuals who have signs or symptoms of iron deficiency or anemia.

The task force issued a similar statement on the benefits and harms of screening for IDA in young children.

Iron is required for the production of hemoglobin, which is essential for red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia in the United States.

The goal of screening is to improve the growth and development of young children. In the absence of robust data on screening and supplementation, experts suggest that pregnant women and young children consume iron-rich foods.

The task force is an independent organization that makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. As reported by Medscape Medical News, the group released their draft recommendations in March.

Pediatrics. Published online September 7, 2015.

Ann Intern Med. Published online September 8, 2015. Full text

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