Micronutrient deficiencies as a public health problem in developing countries and effectiveness of supplementation, fortification, and nutrition education programs

is there a role for agriculture?

The author answers this important question in the paper and concludes that strategies are possible to enhance the micronutrient content and bioavailability of plant-based staple and other micronutrient-containing foods in whole diets. She states that maximum efficacy will occur when alliances are formed between agriculturists whose expertise lies in improving the micronutrient content in staple and other crops, and altering the ratio of enhancers to inhibitors of bioavailability in field crops, and nutritionists whose expertise lies in diversifying and
modifying menus along similar lines that enhance micronutrient availability in households. She asks for joint efforts in advocacy for the feasibility and long-term sustainability of combating micronutrient deficiencies through food-based approaches. Her belief is that increased investment by agriculture in quantitative and qualitative improvement in the nutrition of populations is crucial to accelerating global economic growth and national development. The author considers that the spin-off for the health and quality of life for millions of individuals and communities now trapped in poverty and deprivation is an obvious outcome. It is fundamental to achieving the increasingly recognized human right to adequate food and nutrition.

Underwood, Barbara A.
Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
PDF file: 
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