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Prevalence of vitamin a deficiency in school children aged 8-10 years in Tirupati

Author: 
Sireesha, G. and Dr. Kusuma, D. L.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Although a national vitamin A prophylaxis programme has been in operation for more than three decades, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) continues to be a major nutritional problem of public health significance in India. The present study was carried out with the aim of assessing the prevalence of clinical VAD among school going children 8-10 years in Tirupati. A study was carried out in area of Tirupati during 2008-2009. A total of 776 school children were examined for the presence of signs and symptoms of VAD. The total sample (776) of them was used to estimate blood vitamin A levels. The intakes β-carotene containing foods of plant origin such as GLV were also found to be lower than the RDA. Thus, the quality and quantity of foods consumed is reflected in the low biochemical levels of vit-A resulting in a high prevalence of deficiency. It is observed that about 56 percent of school age children of the present study had mean serum vit-A levels <30 μg/dl indicating borderline VAD state. Further categorization of participants into different degrees of VAD reveal that about 38 percent were having levels of vit-A in the high risk range of 20-30 μg/dl and about 22 percent were deficient with levels < 20 μg/dl. A high percent of girls (20.1) were severely deficient when compared to boys (13.7). Combining the different levels of deficient states, boys and girls showed a high prevalence of VAD (53.8 and 56.7 respectively), with a little difference between them. As age increased the severe deficiency is decreased. Increased vitamin A supplementation, health and nutrition education and consumption of vitamin A rich foods are essential to prevent VAD.

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