Dietary Inadequacy, Micronutrient Deficiencies, and Approaches to Preventing Poor Nutrition in the Gaza Strip

Masako Horino, Lina Bahar, Ghada Al-Jadba, Rami Habash, Seita Akihiro, Keith P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Palestine refugees comprise the largest refugee population in the world, most of whom are encamped in Middle Eastern countries. In the Gaza Strip, where ∼1.4 million Palestinians reside, there are high prevalences of anemia and multiple micronutrient deficiencies (MNDs), including those of iron, zinc, vitamins A, B12, D, and E, ranging from 11.4% to 84.7% among pregnant women and 2.9% to 70.9% among preschool children. Dietary diversification and adequate food fortification are framed in policies but remain aspirational goals. Alternative, effective, targeted preventive approaches include, for women, replacement of antenatal iron-folic acid with multiple micronutrient supplementation, and for young children, point-of-use multiple micronutrient powder fortification to prevent anemia, both of which can reduce other MNDs and may bring additional health benefits. These interventions coupled with monitoring of dietary intakes, periodic assessment of MNDs, and implementation research to improve existing nutrition interventions are warranted to protect the health of the Middle East Palestinian diaspora.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-511
Number of pages9
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • malnutrition
  • maternal and child nutrition
  • micronutrient deficiency
  • supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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