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Public Health Rev. 2000;28(1-4):1-12.

Micronutrient deficiency conditions in the Middle East region: an overview.

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  • 1International Health Programs, School of Public Health, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The Middle East is perhaps the world's best laboratory for learning more about iron and zinc deficiencies, and their widespread prevalence contributes much to constraining the quality of life for a large share of the population. Always, in the context of endemic IDD, countries in the region need to make sure that the programs are in place to consign this still-serious problem to the history books. Research is not required so much in relation to IDD, but clearly applications need to be monitored. Vitamin A deficiency is probably widespread at mild to moderate levels, and should be addressed by a combination of appropriate case management for infectious disease, breastfeeding promotion, and dietary diversification/nutrition education. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent, and so far the most intractable, micronutrient problem. It probably will not yield to less than a multipronged strategy including fortification of the food supply with iron. Several other micronutrient deficiencies require our eventual attention as well, and looking forward to their solution should be part of the research agenda.

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