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The Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiencies and Inadequacies in the Middle East and Approaches to Interventions
- Hwalla, Nahla, Al Dhaheri, Ayesha Salem, Radwan, Hadia, Alfawaz, Hanan Abdullah, Fouda, Mona A., Al‐Daghri, Nasser Mohammed, Zaghloul, Sahar, Blumberg, Jeffrey B.
- Nutrients 2017 v.9 no.3
- adolescents, at-risk population, children, dietary supplements, elderly, folic acid, food fortification, food intake, food security, iron, issues and policy, nutrient deficiencies, nutrition education, nutrition monitoring, pregnant women, public-private partnerships, vitamin D, Middle East
- Micronutrient deficiencies and inadequacies constitute a global health issue, particularly among countries in the Middle East. The objective of this review is to identify micronutrient deficits in the Middle East and to consider current and new approaches to address this problem. Based on the availability of more recent data, this review is primarily focused on countries that are in advanced nutrition transition. Prominent deficits in folate, iron, and vitamin D are noted among children/adolescents, women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and the elderly. Reports indicate that food fortification in the region is sporadic and ineffective, and the use of dietary supplements is low. Nutrition monitoring in the region is limited, and gaps in relevant information present challenges for implementing new policies and approaches to address the problem. Government‐sponsored initiatives are necessary to assess current dietary intakes/patterns, support nutrition education, and to reduce food insecurity, especially among vulnerable population groups. Public–private partnerships should be considered in targeting micronutrient fortification programs and supplementation recommendations as approaches to help alleviate the burden of micronutrient deficiencies and inadequacies in the Middle East.