Vitamin A Deficiency


Vitamin A deficiency is common among children in developing countries, and is responsible for one to two million deaths and half a million new cases of blindness every year. Improving vitamin A status can dramatically improve child health, vision and survival.

Keywords: nutrition; blindness; xerophthalmia; vitamin A; child survival


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WHO/UNICEF/IVACG Task Force (1997) Vitamin A Supplements: a Guide to Their Use in the Treatment and Prevention of Vitamin A Deficiency and Xerophthalmia, 2nd edn. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Further Reading

Bloch CE (1921) Clinical investigation of xerophthalmia and dystrophy in infants and young children (xerophthalmia et dystrophia alipogenetica). Journal of Hygiene (Cambridge) 19: 283–301.

McCollum EV and Davis M (1913) The necessity of certain lipins in the diet during growth. Journal of Biology and Chemistry 15: 167–175.

Sommer A (1982) Nutritional Blindness: Xerophthalmia and Keratomalacia. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sommer A and West KP Jr (1996) Vitamin A Deficiency: Health, Survival, and Vision. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sommer A, Tarwotjo I, Hussaini G and Susanto D (1983) Increased mortality in children with mild vitamin A deficiency. Lancet 2: 585–588.

Sommer A, Tarwotjo I, Djunaedi E et al. (1986) Impact of vitamin A supplementation on childhood mortality: a randomised controlled community trial. Lancet 1: 1169–1173.

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How to Cite close
Sommer, Alfred(Apr 2001) Vitamin A Deficiency. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002106]