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Bull World Health Organ. 1995;73(5):703-11.

Breast-milk vitamin A as an indicator of the vitamin A status of women and infants.

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Department of International Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This article reviews the evidence for using breast-milk vitamin A as an indicator of vitamin A status and provides technical information for researchers who want to use this indicator to assess the vitamin A status of women and breast-fed children. Breast-milk vitamin A is a unique indicator for assessing the vitamin A status of lactating women and their breast-fed infants, and has recently been recommended by WHO for use in monitoring global elimination of vitamin A deficiency. Assessing breast-milk vitamin A is less invasive than alternative approaches for assessing a mother's vitamin A status and not at all invasive for her infant. Collection of milk samples in the field is generally feasible and acceptable. Breast-milk vitamin A appears to be an especially good indicator for measuring the impact of vitamin A interventions on women and infants, and for this purpose, it is more responsive than other indicators.

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