Health

Experts, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Nutrition experts have called for a policy change at the national level on vitamin A supplementation, stating that vitamin A deficiencies in children are no longer a public health problem in India.

They argued that vitamin A supplementation may lead to excess dosage of vitamin A or hypervitaminosis. Researchers from the city-based National Institute of Nutrition, St John’s Research Institute, Bangalore, and Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, warned of a possible risk of hypervitaminosis. In their study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers evaluated whether vitamin A deficiencies still presented a serious public health problem among children below five years of age.

The study suggests that the national prevalence of vitamin A deficiency risk is below 20% in children in India. “It’s high time the mega-dose of vitamin A is revised and a targeted state-based vitamin A supplementation program was taken up, ” it says.

The study drew on the sample of the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey which was conducted in 30 states during 2016-2018, said NIN director Hemalatha R. “The survey showed that vitamin A deficiency based on serum retinol levels was 15.7% among 1-5-year-old children across India, lesser than the 20% mark that defines a serious public health problem”, she said.

There were few kids (as low as 0.4%) with low serum retinol values at which serious clinical problems are likely to manifest.

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