A dietary supplement in the form of a cheap, fortified, orange-flavored drink can reduce Third World deficiencies in micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A, a Cornell University physician and international nutritionist reports. The supplement, he says, eases the so-called "hidden hunger" that plagues more than 2 billion people worldwide and particularly affects pregnant and nursing mothers and young children.
Studies by Michael C. Latham, professor of international nutrition at Cornell, and his research team three years ago showed that the drink improves the health, nutritional status and physical growth of children in the developing world. His latest research shows that the drink can also influence the nutrition and the health of pregnant and lactating mothers and their infants in the Third World, reducing the risk for disability, ill health, and consequently, low productivity.
In a study last year and reported on this month, Latham tested the specially formulated supplement on 439 pregnant Tanzanian women, some of whom continued to be monitored after giving birth. At the Micronutrient Colloquium, which Latham chaired, in Cincinnati Oct. 10-11, he reported that the supplement significantly improved the iron and vitamin A status of the women, compared with a control group of those who did not consume the fortified drink. The risk of anemia dropped by 51 percent in pregnant women who consumed the drink.
Susan S. Lang | EurekAlert!
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