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Diet making children anaemic, say doctors.

Fizzy drinks, convenience foods and sugary snacks have led to British children being as malnourished as those in Third World countries, according to a Midland paediatrician.

Those living in urban areas such as inner-city Birmingham have such low iron levels in their blood that they are anaemic, according to Dr Robert Moy.

The problem is being blamed on poor diet - a lack in nutrients can affect children's mental and physical health, such as their attention span and ability to fight infections.

Dr Moy, senior lecturer in child health at Birmingham University, argued the Government was concentrating too much on obesity rather than nutrition. He said: 'Increasing use of overly-processed food, fizzy drinks and unhealthy snacks is a major cause.' Problems are worse in inner-city areas.

Studies in Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry and Derby have provided MPs with details about the growing problems of inner-city health.

According to the research, more than half (56 per cent) of 788 preschool children in innercity Birmingham were found to be anaemic by World Health Organisation standards. A Department of Health spokeswoman said there was not enough evidence to support a national anaemia screening programme.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 21, 2005
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