Micro nutrient deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder and contributes substantially to the global burden of disease by affecting 1 in 3 people world over. It refers to the lack of essential vitamins and minerals required by the body for proper growth and development. They include, but are not limited to Vitamins A, B, C and D, Calcium, Iodine, Iron and Zinc[i]. Micronutrient deficiency has global health impact because its implications become less visible and usually begins to show when the condition is severe and has already led to serious health burdens, hence, justifying the name “hidden hunger”.[ii]
Growth Retardation: Why is it important to understand?
Growth retardation is highly prevalent in developing countries and is associated with several adverse outcomes throughout the life. Inadequate intakes of dietary energy and protein and frequent infections are well-known causes of growth retardation. The role of specific micronutrient deficiencies in growth retardation has earned attention of late. Micronutrient deficiencies are pervasive in low-income countries, and the most likely causes are low content in the diet and poor bioavailability.[iii]
It’s time we addressed Micro-Nutrient Deficiency
Effective methods exist to overcome micronutrient malnutrition, but they require concrete, comprehensive, cost-effective efforts by governments to be successful. Prevention is possible by undertaking interventions at all stages of the life cycle, and mainly involves the promotion of exclusive breast-feeding until the age of 6 months and the provision of complementary foods and family foods with adequate micronutrient density. The unnecessary human suffering and hindrance to economic development caused by micronutrient malnutrition can be eliminated in large part by improving the nutritional quality of the food supply and by educating people about good dietary practices.[iv]