WBC Nutrition Committee : Vitamin A, Zinc and Folate
Vitamin A is necessary to support healthy eyesight and immune system functions; children who are deficient face an increased risk of blindness and death from infections such as measles and diarrhea.
Globally, 1 in 3 pre-school aged children and 1 in 6 pregnant women are vitamin A deficient due to inadequate dietary intake.
Vitamin A supplementation of children 6-59 months has been shown to be highly effective in reducing mortality from all causes in countries where vitamin A deficiency is a public health concern.
Zinc is a mineral that promotes immunity, resistance to infection, and proper growth and development of the nervous system3, and is integral to healthy pregnancy outcomes.
17.3% of the global population is at risk for zinc deficiency due to dietary inadequacy, though up to 30% of people are at risk in some regions of the world.
Zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of premature birth, decreases childhood diarrhea and respiratory infections, lowers all-cause mortality, and increases growth and weight gain among infants and young children.
Folate is a vitamin that is essential in the earliest days of fetal growth for healthy development of the brain, spinal cord, and skull.
Ensuring sufficient levels of folate in women prior to conception can reduce neural tube defects (a serious birth defect) by up to 50%.
Supplementations of women 15-49 years with folic acid, and fortification of foods such as wheat flour with folic acid, are effective interventions for the reduction of birth defects, morbidity, and mortality in newborns.