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Improvement of the micronutrient status of communities
The National family health survey NFHS3 done recently shows that 79.2% of children in the age group 6-35months,56.2% of women in the age group 15-49 years and 57.9% of the pregnant women and 24.3% of men are anaemic. The multiple micronutrient fortified salt and Multiple micronutrient food supplement(MMFS) has clinically proven to improve the hemoglobin levels, increase serum vitamin A, urinary iodine, serum vitamin B12 , serum folic acid and serum zinc. In children, the increase of micronutrients in the serum has also resulted in increase in their memory and cognition scores in the memory tests administered to them. Click for details in Clinical studies
Combating anaemia and increase of memory in children
Anemia causes poor attentiveness, poor memory and poor academic performance in school age children. Anaemic infants are often irritable, restless and show behavioral abnormalities like lack of attention, fatigue and insecurity. Poor attention span, memory and concentration as well as concept acquisition leading to poor school performance have been attributed to anemia during this phase of critical learning. Restoration of hemoglobin levels to normalcy leads to significant improvements in overall IQ as well as in tests involving specific abilities of attention, memory and concentration. Clinical trials have shown that the multiple micronutrient fortified salt and the MMFS could therefore immensely benefit anaemic children, improve their iron status, increase their memory and help them improve their academic scores and retain many children who would otherwise drop out of schools because of poor academic performance. Combating micronutrient malnourishment in children will lead to more alert and intelligent children who will lead India to a brighter tomorrow.
Increase in productivity in workers
Anaemia also causes fatigue, which is a major reason for absenteeism in workers. The double fortified salt enriched with iron and iodine when given to tea pickers, improved their hemoglobin status which in-turn increased the productivity of the tea pickers. They were able to pick a larger quantity of tea leaves and their absenteeism also decreased.
Click clinical trials to see the published study. The multiple micronutrient fortified salt and MMFS would therefore improve the economy of the country substantially.
Improve nutritive status of pregnant women and Reduce prevalence of Low birth weight babies
The prevalence of low birth weight in children born nationally is 30%. Birth weight is closely associated with health and survival of infants. Low birth weight(LBW) children have deficiencies in cognition and lower developmental test scores than children with normal birth weight. LBW children are at higher risk to develop cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes when they grow up to be adults-Barker Hypothesis. Neglecting maternal nutrition leads to intrauterine growth retardation of the foetus one of the major causes of LBW babies. Poor calorie intake by the pregnant woman, low micronutrient content (especially iron) in her diet and continued physical work load even in the last trimester of her pregnancy contribute to LBW in children born. Since the multiple micronutrient fortified salt and MMFS improves the iron status and the status of several micronutrients, it would immensely benefit pregnant women and maybe reduce the prevalence of Low birth weight infants. Neural tube defect in new born children is another major scourge caused primarily due to folate deficiency in the initial stages of pregnancy. The folic acid in the multiple micronutrient fortified salt and MMFS could drastically reduce the prevalence of neural tube defects in children.
Reduce morbidity in children and increase growth rate in children
Vitamin A and Zinc are known to boost immunity. Zinc is known to decrease the instances of diarrhea in children. Both vitamin A and zinc in the multiple micronutrient fortified salt will therefore help in reducing morbidity in children. This would go a long way in improving the rate of growth in children as morbidity is an important reason which affects the rate of growth in children. NFHS3 data shows that in children under the age of 3 years,38.4% are stunted,19.1 % are wasted and 45.9% of the children are underweight. The use of the multiple micronutrient fortified salt might change this scenario. Clinical studies have shown improvements in growth rates in children when the multiple micronutrient fortified salt or MMFS was used. Since micronutrient malnourishment is much more prevalent in rural India , the multiple micronutrient fortified salt and MMFS will be of great importance in combating multiple micronutrient deficiencies in rural India
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