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Vitamin A Deficiency: Who it affects and Why it Matters

According to the World Health Organization’s Micronutrient Deficiencies page, Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is a widespread problem worldwide (affecting over 50% of countries in the world) and is particularly harmful for children and pregnant mothers. Insufficient Vitamin A can lead to visual impairment, blindness and early death, especially in children within the crucial age bracket of between 6 months to 6 years of age. The World Health Organization estimates that somewhere between 250 million and 500 million children every year become blind due to Vitamin A deficiency, and of that number, up to 50% will die from this cause within a year.

Vitamin A is found in many common foods such as carrots and most other fruits and vegetables, as well as milk and eggs. Programs aimed at Vitamin A supplementation in affected countries from Africa to Southeast Asia have utilized various approaches and have had some success in combatting VAD, with targeted high dosage supplementation lowering mortality rates by almost 25% in some areas. Other strategies include food fortification, home gardening and cultivation programs as well as education and breastfeeding initiatives.

Image: Pixabay

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