Gulf and Peninsula News

Childhood anemia on the rise

Childhood Anemia is a major factor in the stunted development of preschool aged children in several remote communities throughout the far north.

More than 60 percent of babies in remote Far North Queensland have this blood disease where the size and number of red blood cells falls below a certain point; impacting the body’s ability to transport oxygen through the body.

New research conducted by James Cook University (JCU) has linked childhood Anemia to inhibited growth in children, not allowing them to develop to their full potential and further inhibiting their educational learning.

With a staggering decline in dietitians by 90 per cent in remote areas as well as financial barriers to healthy eating, childhood Aaemia is only on the rise.

With these issues impacting many families across Queensland, focus is being redirected at Australia’s ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative.

JCU senior lecturer Dympna Leonard believes that a focus on nutrition especially for early mothers could help combat the rising blood disease.

“Nutrition has dropped off the agenda, and it’s not included in the ‘Closing the Gap’ agenda,” she said.

“I would like to see information for nutrition provided in early life for mums and bubs included in these agendas.

“I’d also like to see an added layer within these agendas; which is anemia prevention.”

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