Micronutrient deficiencies and gender: Social and economic costs

UNICEF Nutrition Section & Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 06/2005; 81(5):1198S-1205S.
Source: PubMed


Vitamin and mineral deficiencies adversely affect a third of the world's people. Consequently, a series of global goals and a serious amount of donor and national resources have been directed at such micronutrient deficiencies. Drawing on the extensive experience of the authors in a variety of institutional settings, the article used a computer search of the published scientific literature of the topic, supplemented by reports and published and unpublished work from the various agencies. In examining the effect of sex on the economic and social costs of micronutrient deficiencies, the paper found that: (1) micronutrient deficiencies affect global health outcomes; (2) micronutrient deficiencies incur substantial economic costs; (3) health and nutrition outcomes are affected by sex; (4) micronutrient deficiencies are affected by sex, but this is often culturally specific; and finally, (5) the social and economic costs of micronutrient deficiencies, with particular reference to women and female adolescents and children, are likely to be considerable but are not well quantified. Given the potential impact on reducing infant and child mortality, reducing maternal mortality, and enhancing neuro-intellectual development and growth, the right of women and children to adequate food and nutrition should more explicitly reflect their special requirements in terms of micronutrients. The positive impact of alleviating micronutrient malnutrition on physical activity, education and productivity, and hence on national economies suggests that there is also an urgent need for increased effort to demonstrate the cost of these deficiencies, as well as the benefits of addressing them, especially compared with other health and nutrition interventions.

Download full-text


Available from: Martin Bloem
  • Source
    • "High prevalent and economic loss due to iron deficiency is more in developing countries [3]. Poverty has been reported to be the likely cause of this high prevalence [8] [9]. Paradoxically, African countries falling in developing countries in the world [10] are rich in plants traditionally used for the treatment of anaemia [11] [12]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Iron deficiency, the main cause of anaemia, has been linked with decreased disaccharidases activity. The highest prevalence of iron deficiency is recorded in Africa where plants, including Mangifera indica, with ethnobotanical claims of being used for the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia are ‘housed’. Although some scientific findings have been reported on the anti-anaemic potential of M. indica, none is yet to give a clearer picture of this ethnobotanical claim. This work investigates the effects of aqueous extract of M. indica stem bark on iron deficiency anaemia and disaccharidases' activities in iron deficient rat. The aqueous extract formulated into three doses, 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg body weight were administered to weanling albino rats induced with iron deficiency through diet. After four weeks of feeding the rats, the Packed Cell Volume, Haemoglobin concentration and Red Blood Cell count of the iron deficient rats were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) compared to those of healthy rats fed with iron sufficient feed. These iron status indicators were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in rats treated with the extract when compared with untreated rats. The extract also revert decreased sucrase and lactase activity in treated iron deficient rats when compared with untreated rats. The efficacy of the extract may be due to its components including iron, saponin and cardiac glycosides. This work proposed 25 mg/kg body weight as the likely non-lethal effective dose of the extract for the treatment of anaemia, though, further toxicological studies are still required to ascertain this claim.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
  • Source
    • "For example, cultural restrictions may limit girls’ access to sporting facilities, or create invisible barriers to a physically active lifestyle. Further, in some cultures, women and girls’ diets are poorer than their male counterparts, even within the same household [46-48]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Addressing non-communicable diseases (“NCDs”) and their risk-factors is one of the most powerful ways of improving longevity and healthy life expectancy for the foreseeable future – especially in low- and middle-income countries. This paper reviews the role of law and governance reform in that process. We highlight the need for a comprehensive approach that is grounded in the right to health and addresses three aspects: preventing NCDs and their risk factors, improving access to NCD treatments, and addressing the social impacts of illness. We highlight some of the major impediments to the passage and implementation of laws for the prevention and control of NCDs, and identify important practical steps that governments can take as they consider legal and governance reforms at country level. We review the emerging global architecture for NCDs, and emphasise the need for governance structures to harness the energy of civil society organisations and to create a global movement that influences the policy agenda at the country level. We also argue that the global monitoring framework would be more effective if it included key legal and policy indicators. The paper identifies priorities for technical legal assistance in implementing the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013–2020. These include high-quality legal resources to assist countries to evaluate reform options, investment in legal capacity building, and global leadership to respond to the likely increase in requests by countries for technical legal assistance. We urge development agencies and other funders to recognise the need for development assistance in these areas. Throughout the paper, we point to global experience in dealing with HIV and draw out some relevant lessons for NCDs.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Globalization and Health
  • Source
    • "Vitamin A deficiency is currently a global public health problem inflicting morbidity, stunted growth, night blindness and loss of both sight and lives in the developing world [6,7]. Vitamin A deficiency is estimated to affect 190 million preschool children and 19 million pregnant and/or lactating women world wide [8], which aggravates poverty and underdevelopment challenges in developing countries [9,10]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biofortification of staple crops to supply higher levels of provitamin A to human diets can help combat micronutrient deficiencies, particularly in developing countries. PCR -based DNA markers distinguishing functional alleles of three key genes of maize endosperm carotenoid biosynthesis (PSY1, lcyE and crtRB1) have been developed to facilitate maize provitamin A biofortification via marker assisted selection. Previous studies of these functional DNA markers revealed inconsistent effects. The germplasm previously employed for discovering and validating these functional markers was mainly of temperate origin containing low frequencies of the favourable allele of the most significant polymorphism, crtRB1-5[prime]TE. Here, we investigate the vitamin A biofortification potential of these DNA markers in a germplasm panel of diverse tropical yellow maize inbred lines, with mixed genetic backgrounds of temperate and tropical germplasm to identify the most effective diagnostic markers for vitamin A biofortification. The functional DNA markers crtRB1-5[prime]TE and crtRB1-3[prime]TE were consistently and strongly associated with provitamin A content across the tropical maize inbred lines tested. The alleles detected by these two functional markers were in high linkage disequilibrium (R2 = 0.75) and occurred in relatively high frequency (18%). Genotypes combining the favourable alleles at the two loci (N = 20) displayed a 3.22 fold average increase in beta-carotene content compared to those genotypes lacking the favourable alleles (N = 106). The PSY1 markers were monomorphic across all of the inbred lines. The functional DNA markers for lcyE were associated with lutein, and with the ratio of carotenoids in the alpha and beta branches, but not with provitamin A levels. However, the combined effects of the two genes were stronger than their individual effects on all carotenoids. Tropical maize inbred lines harbouring the favourable alleles of the crtRB1-5[prime]TE and 3[prime]TE functional markers produce higher levels of provitamin A. Such maize lines can be used as donor parents for development of provitamin A biofortified tropical maize varieties adapted to growing conditions and consumer preferences in developing countries. The identification of such tropical maize inbred lines with increased production of provitamin A provides a route towards mitigation of vitamin A malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Plant Biology
Show more