Vitamin A intake and status in populations facing economic stress

Keith P. West, Sucheta Mehra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Dietary quality and diversity reflect adequacy of vitamin A. Both can deteriorate in response to economic crises. Although the nutritional consequences of the 2008 world food price crisis remain unclear, past studies of diet, status, and socioeconomic standing under usual (deprived) and unusually disruptive times suggest dietary quality and vitamin A status decline in mothers and young children. This is presumably the result of shifting diets to include less preformed vitamin A-rich animal source foods and, to a lesser extent, vegetables and fruits. Cross-sectional assessments of diet, deficiency, and socioeconomic status in a number of countries and surveillance data collected during the Indonesian economic crisis of 1997-8 indicate that the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency, night blindness, and other related disorders (e.g., anemia) may have increased during the 2008 crisis, and that it might not have necessarily recovered once food prices waned later in 2008. Lost employment may be a factor in slow nutritional recovery, despite some easing of food prices. Vitamin A deficiency should still be preventable amid economic instabilities through breast feeding promotion, vitamin A supplementation, fortification of foods targeted to the poor, and homestead food production that can bolster income and diversify the diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201S-207S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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