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J Public Health Policy. 2013 Nov;34(4):538-48. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2013.28. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Vitamin A deficiency control measures: importance of vitamin A supplementation as a public health policy in the Indian context.

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Division of Community Studies, National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Jamai-Osmania (PO), Hyderabad 500007, India.


Recently prominent nutrition scientists across the world have opposed continuation of vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programmes and recommended gradual phasing out VAS for pre-school children. A few eminent nutrition scientists in India have echoed this view, arguing that vitamin deficiency (VAD) is no longer a public health problem in India. We review the evidence, highlighting the high rates of VAD among pre-school children in India, (clinical, subclinical, and dietary deficiency) and argue that in India VAD remains an immensely important public health problem and it is crucial to strengthen and continue the existing VAS programme in India, and in other developing countries until such time as their children's dietary consumption of vitamin A is improved adequately and blood vitamin A levels reach optimal levels.

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