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We measured growth [length (L) standard deviation score (SDS), growth velocity (GV) SDS and body mass index (BMI)] and hematological (hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV and MCH) parameters in 40 children (aged 17.2 ± 12.4 months) with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) before and after iron therapy. Before treatment children with IDA had LSDS=−1.2 ± 1, GV=7.5 ± 2.2, GVSDS=−1.42 ± 0.6 and BMI=13.5 ± 1.2. They were significantly shorter and had reduced growth as compared with age-matched controls. After treatment, their growth parameters significantly increased with LSDS=−0.6 ± −0.9, GV=13.2 ± 4.4 cm year−1, GVSDS=1.7 ± 0.5 and BMI=14.2 ± 1.1. Their GV correlated significantly with serum ferritin concentration (r=0.48, p < 0.001) and BMI (r=0.32, p < 0.1). In summary, IDA during the first 2 years of life significantly impairs growth.