|New and Noteworthy in Nutrition (WB)|
|No. 18, September 11, 1992|
16. Iron. Under the micronutrient component of the Tanzania Health and Nutrition Project, Donald McLarty of the Muhimbili Medical School found the anemia in men in five rural areas to be as bad as in women, and in some cases worse. The result was so unexpected that the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center repeated the survey -- only to confirm the results. One possible explanation is that males who do not migrate to cities for work are weaker (for instance, more loaded with parasitic infections). Another, more intriguing, possibility is that iron supplements for women over the years are paying off. If the latter is true, this and the unexpected school-age problems in Zimbabwe point to the need from time to time for a country's nutrition priorities and targeting goals to be revisited.
17. The May 26 issue of New & Noteworthy noted that the color of iron pills influences their acceptability. In Indonesia, for example, a red pill --a color associated with good blood -- is more readily valued. By coincidence, a few days later the June issue of Pediatrics published a study showing that in the United States brightly colored iron supplement pills are the biggest cause of accidental poisoning deaths in children under six. The reason: children mistake the brightly colored pills for candy.
18. Vitamin A. Until now, all vitamin A studies showing high impact on reducing mortality have been on children under five. A study in Nepal, undertaken by the University of Michigan, also looks at five-to-ten year olds. The unexpected outcome: almost double the impact of vitamin A deficiency on mortality of the five-to-ten year olds than those under five, and more reduction associated with treatment.
19. What is probably a first-ever program to increase the vitamin A content of foods through genetic manipulation is now underway at the Asian Vegetable Research Development Center in Taiwan. Early screening of sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes finds great variations in the levels and bio-availability of vitamin A. The aim of the undertaking: to attain the maximum amount of vitamin A in a food, when combining yield multiplied by the vitamin A content.
20. Iodine. The AIDS scare apparently is partly responsible for what is a distinct move away from the use of injected iodized oil (effective for up to three years) to an oral dose (good for one). Even though the wallop is not as great, the latter is so much easier to administer that in most situations it is the most cost- effective approach. Teachers, for instance, can give the oral dose. In Bolivia, 1.5 million doses have been effectively provided by responsible non-health professionals. In difficult-to-reach areas, the longer lasting injection has cost advantages.