Large-scale food fortification has great potential to improve child health and nutrition
Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health
Purpose of review: Undernutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, continues to plague children across the world, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The situation has worsened alongside the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic because of major systemic disruptions to food supply, healthcare, and employment. Large-scale food fortification (LSFF) is a potential strategy for improving micronutrient intakes through the addition of vitamins and minerals to staple foods and improving the nutritional status of populations at large.
Recent findings: Current evidence unquestionably supports the use of LSFF to improve micronutrient status. Evidence syntheses have also demonstrated impact on some functional outcomes, including anemia, wasting, underweight, and neural tube defects, that underpin poor health and development. Importantly, many of these effects have also been reflected in effectiveness studies that examine LSFF in real-world situations as opposed to under-controlled environments. However, programmatic challenges must be addressed in LMICs in order for LSFF efforts to reach their full potential.
Summary: LSFF is an important strategy that has the potential to improve the health and nutrition of entire populations of vulnerable children. Now more than ever, existing programs should be strengthened and new programs implemented in areas with widespread undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Keats, E. C.,
Charbonneau, K. D.,
Das, J. K.,
Bhutta, Z. A.
(2021). Large-scale food fortification has great potential to improve child health and nutrition. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_women_childhealth_wc/169