Vitamin A, iron distribution to highlight micro-nutrients

More than 5 million under five-year-old children and 600,000 mothers who have given birth in the last month are provided with vitamin A capsules and iron capsules to prevent nutrient deficiency on Micro-Nutrient Day on June 1-2.

The event was organised nationwide by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in an effort to reduce high rates of malnutrition and micro nutrient deficiencies in children. In particular, this work aims to curb the rate of malnutrition still at nearly 30 percent of children under five.

Head of the institute's Nutrient Department Nguyen Xuan Ninh said that more than 14 percent of children have suffered vitamin A deficiency and 36 percent of pregnant women have suffered anaemia, of which up to 67 percent is caused by iron deficiency.

"Vitamin A deficiency and anaemia are the most prevalent micro nutrient deficiencies in Vietnam, especially in rural, mountainous areas of northern provinces, the central and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) regions," said Ninh.

Measures for micro-nutrient deficiency prevention focus on providing high dosages of vitamin A to children under five and iron capsule to mothers after giving birth at all localities of the country, said the institute director Le Thi Hop.

According to the 2009-10 Vietnam General Nutrition Survey, one out of three children under five suffers from malnutrition, causing serious developmental defects, and their underweight rate was 17.5 percent. About 29.3 percent of pre-school children experience stunted growth in 2010.