Home Cellular science 2 out of 5 Indian children lack preventive dose of vitamin A: study

2 out of 5 Indian children lack preventive dose of vitamin A: study


NEW DELHI : Two in five children in India lack vitamin A supplements designed to prevent health problems associated with vitamin deficiency, according to an analysis of representative survey data published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Global Health.

Vitamin A is important for many cellular processes in the human body that are essential for eyesight, growth and development, wound healing, reproduction, and immunity, among others.

A total of 123,836 (60.5%) of the 204,645 children surveyed aged 9 to 59 months (9 months to 5 years) had received vitamin supplements.

A cross-sectional, population-level study was conducted in 640 districts across all states and union territories (UTs) using data collected during the fourth cycle of the National Family and Health Survey 4 (NFHS -4) between January 2015 and December 2016.

Participants included 699,686 women and 112,122 men, recruited from 601,509 households nationwide to obtain information from parents on whether their children had received a vitamin A supplement (VAS) within 6 months of birth. ‘investigation.

Study author Dr Kaustubh Bora, Division of Haematology, ICMR Regional Center for Medical Research in Assam, noted: “The study showed that the coverage of vitamin A supplements (VAS) the highest was recorded in Goa (89.5%) followed by Sikkim (84.3%). Coverage was lowest in Nagaland (29.5%), followed by Manipur (32.1%), Uttarakhand (36.9%), Uttar Pradesh (40.0%). Coverage was lowest in Rajasthan (20%) compared to the district. »

Since 2006, the central government has recommended high-dose vitamin A supplements for all children aged 9-59 months.

Evidence-based approaches are needed to assess the impact of these differences and ensure that appropriate vitamin A interventions are provided to those who need them most, Dr. Bora noted.

Nationally, nearly two out of five Indian children in the eligible age bracket did not receive a vitamin A supplement during the reporting period.

Worldwide, an estimated 190 million (or one in three) children under the age of 5 have VAD (vitamin A deficiency).

Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, Chairman of the Nephron Clinic and renowned pediatrician, said: “Vitamin A deficiency is common in children and remains largely undiagnosed and undetected, especially in developing countries. About 30-35% of children under the age of 5 have some form of vitamin A deficiency.

“Predisposing factors are maternal malnutrition, early pregnancy, small gap between pregnancies, prematurity and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), child malnutrition, chronic diarrhea due to vitamin and micronutrient deficiency, poor eating habits, etc.

“If left untreated, it leads to poor growth, chronic infection, night blindness and xerophthalmia. Vitamin A is an extremely important micronutrient and one that is not talked about more often than vitamin D.”

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