You are on page 1of 8

Vitamin A Deficiency: A Preventable Disease

NTRS 417- B, Sect. 1

Jennifer Arciniega - Literature Review
Carolina Castro - Introduction
Jenny Chacon - Abstract, Summary, Reference & Appendices
Rosa Torres-Navas - Population of Interest & Format
California State University Los Angeles

I. Abstract

A. Insufficient intake of vitamin A can have serious adverse health consequences for one's vision,
growth, and immunity. The current common prevention for vitamin A deficiency is through
supplementation, such as fortification of common inexpensive foods such as table sugar or rice.
Lack of readily available education emphasizing importance of the consumption of vitamin A
rich foods along with supplementation to the lower socioeconomic demographic of Latin
America creates an environment where families are not equipped with the skills to make
informed decisions about their families well being. In the Latin American culture the mother,
who dictates all aspects of the family life, runs the household. She is receptive to guidance if the
outcome enables her with the means to further the progress of her family. The method of relaying
the message and providing the information will be done in a manner that is familiar, making it
more acceptable and respected. The mother will be approached through community outreach,
such as nutrition classes, and relatable informational pamphlets distributed by government
supplementation programs. Health fairs focusing on nutrition will be made available to the
community, which will allow family involvement. Public service announcements conveying the
importance of adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables will be made during the evening
hours on television, which is a nightly ritual in almost all households. Once the knowledge has
been gained it will be implemented by the mothers in their households, improving the quality of
life now and amongst future generations.

II. Introduction

A. Problem: Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in many parts of the world affecting

newborns, children, adolescents, women and men. The deficiency has become a public
health concern due to its widespread in developing countries affecting the people of low
socioeconomic status. Vitamin A and its precursors are responsible for many functions in
the body by playing an important role in vision, gene expression, cellular differentiation,
growth, and immunity. Low levels of vitamin A in the body can lead to serious health
conditions such as xerophthalmia, blindness, an increased risk to serious infectious
diseases, and therefore an increased risk of mortality (Sherwin, Reacher, Dean, Ngondi,
2012). The deficiency in vitamin A is often accompanied by deficiency of other nutrients
and poor living conditions that make the person susceptible to infectious diseases;
therefore, the deficiency is of major burden in countries of Latin America, Africa and
South Asia (Fiedle & Lividini ,2014).
Newborns and children are especially affected by vitamin A deficiency which
exposes them to increased disease and mortality (Fares et al. 2014). Maternal nutritional
status has the most effect on the health of the newborn predicting the babys health
throughout his or her life (Fujita, Roth, et alll 2012). Maternal mental and physical health
as well as education, wealth, child care, and environment play a crucial role in child
development (Ferrero-Ramirez et al. 2014). In studies by Chen et al. (2011) fortification
of foods provided to school children improved the childrens micronutrient status and
overall health. In another study by Chiplonkar and Kawade (2012), supplementation of
vitamin A with other nutrients was effective in improving vitamin A status and health of
adolescent girls. Vitamin A deficiency along with the deficiency of other nutrients can be
prevented by the consumption of nutritious foods, fortified foods and supplementation.

B. Aims
i. The goal is to educate Latin American mothers on food based approaches to increase
consumption of vitamin A from natural foods and fortified sources to diminish Vitamin A
ii. The expected outcomes of this proposal is to reduce the prevalence of vitamin A
deficiency, decrease prevalence of infections by the increase of immune system response,
and ultimately, increase knowledge about proper nutrition and disease prevention.
iii. The impact on the area of interest will be health improvement and longevity on the
communities affected by the deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency will decrease as well as
other deficiencies and nutrition related diseases. The proposal is focused on nutrition
education which would allow the participants to think critically about ways to improve
and maintain good health.
iv. The objectives are the following:
1. Conduct 3 nutrition classes, one once a week, at the beginning of
the school year in public preschools targeting mothers to teach them about the
importance of vitamin A, food sources and other important nutrition.
2. Perform community outreach by providing information in form of
a pamphlet to every mother who participates in any government supplementation
program. The pamphlet will be focused on the importance of vitamin A and food
sources to prevent deficiency. The information will be distributed for a year.
3. Community outreach by having health fairs with a focus on
nutrition; the importance of fruits, vegetables and others foods to prevent disease
will be discussed. The health fair will be conducted on the areas that show a
population with deficiencies.

4. Lastly, partner with local public health government and television

stations to broadcast commercials about the importance of vegetable and fruit
consumption to prevent to prevent vitamin A deficiency and other diseases by
targeting mothers during the evening hours for a period of 3 months.
C. Search Criteria:
The studies used in this paper were obtained through electronic databases. Databases
used were: ScienceDirect, Ebscohost, PubMed, and BioMed Central. Key words used were the
following: vitamin A, Latin America, low income communities, vitamin A deficiency treatment,
vitamin A deficiency in children, nutrient deficiency in Latin America, supplementation
programs, vitamin A supplementation. The databases were searched for a period of 90 days. Title
and abstracts were used to obtain articles that fit inclusion criteria, once the parameters were met,
the full articles were retrieved. The inclusion criteria consisted of vitamin A deficiency in
newborns, children and mothers; other inclusion criteria was: treatment of vitamin A deficiency,
vitamin A deficiency in low income communities in Latin America, and nutritional education for
disease prevention. Exclusion criteria included any article that focused on vitamin A deficiency
in male adults, and deficiency in older adults. The strength of the articles were assess by the
sample size, the target population, geographical location, and methodology. The articles were
used if they contained a large sample size and if they met the inclusion criteria. Further analysis
of the articles and their strengths and weaknesses are discussed in the Literature Review section.

IV. Description of Population of Interest 1-2 pgs.

A. Population
i. Describe your population of interest

Target population Latin American mothers in low-income communities. The purpose of

targeting this population is to prevent vitamin A deficiency by implementing education on the
consumption of Vitamin A rich products. Latin American mothers are the ones that provide and
prepare the meals for their families. Some of these women are working mothers that also have to
financially care for their families. For instance, Latin American mothers are the best targets to
fight and prevent any future issues on deficiencies. These mothers would do their best they can to
protect their children that is the main reason why mothers of these developing countries has been
ii. State the rationale for choosing your population
Child malnutrition in all aspects is an important public health concern in Latin America
that is preventing from growing or developing properly. The importance of maternal physical,
mental health and education are determinants of child development. Patterns of growth
retardation begin in the utero or soon after birth, poor fetal growth or infant growth inhibition in
the first two years of life leads to irreversible damage (Ferrero-Ramirez et al. 2014).
Implementing health education, such as helping mothers to understand how to properly take care
of themselves and their future children before and during pregnancy is the starting point of the
intervention. Governmental agencies and international programs have demonstrated interested
on helping and has been implementing food supplementation and fortification to combat the
deficiency among the population (Ferrero-Ramirez et al. 2014). However, the best way to obtain
better outcomes is to consume the vitamins in their natural sources. For this reason, the
importance of governmental and community help is important to help these mothers or future
mothers to understand the necessity of prenatal care with nutritional and educational
interventions. Information and advice on food and nutrition such as how to choose the most

vitamin A content on food, how to prepare food, chose a healthy and balance diet within low
income. Also, provide services to mothers for children under 5 because provision of vitamin A to
children aged between 6 months and 5 years confers a significant mortality benefit. Assessing the
problem of vitamin A deficiency by targeting mothers can have a better and greater commitment
to control the issue that is a public health significance.
Empowerment through education is the focus of this proposal. Our target group, Latin
American mothers will use their newly gained knowledge to care for their families well being.
Sources of vitamin A are generally found in select products of animal origin, such as dairy, eggs,
fish, and liver. All of these items can be a burden when one feels the pressure to provide shelter,
and clothing, and food to their family. Emphasis will be made that brightly colored fruits and
vegetables are also a great cost effective source to be used in conjunction with products of
animal origin, fortified products, and supplementation.