A fundamental article has now commented on the potential of global prevention of micronutrient deficiencies in a comprehensive way detailing the implications of iron, vitamin A, iodium, folacin and zinc deficiencies, described both individually and as regards their mutual interaction.Technically founded observations regarding established strategies of intervention and the economic impact of micronutrient deficiencies round that publication off making it suitable also as a dictionary for the introduction to the problem of hidden hunger.The complex connection of malnutrition, consequential diseases and preventive possibilities of intervention is described in a compressed manner by four key statements:
- Nutrition is the strongest and in particular the most influenceable factor that can be used to alleviate the burden of disease and an early death either directly in the course of a person’s individual lifespan or indirectly within the cycle of a society.
- Micronutrient deficiencies can be avoided globally provided aid measures aim specifically at their causes and their specific efficiency level.
- The expert understanding of the interaction of biochemical parameters and clinical restrictions is the decisive prerequisite for being able to describe the extent of the global burden of micronutrient deficiencies adequately.
- Health impairments caused by malnutrition manifest themselves primarily during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life from the time of conception and they are thus heritable.
Therefore, measures taken in a time window from pregnancy to early childhood are particularly suitable to break the cycle of malnutrition and physical and mental atrophy over generations in a sustainable way. Seen from this angle, the question of whether or not the lifelong consumption of fortified foodstuffs is advisable should be reviewed.
R. L. Bailey, K. P. West und Robert E. Black. The Epidemiology of Global Micronutrient Deficiencies. Ann Nutr Metab 2015;66(suppl 2):22–34. DOI: 10.1159/000371618.