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#469809 - 08/08/13 05:54 AM Are You Missing Micronutrients?
Marty Offline

Survey Shows Many Belizeans Are

Do you ever think of your vitamin B12 intake? Well, you should, a national survey was conducted by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and it found that Belizeans have low levels of Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 – so much so that it is classified as a public health concern.

The survey was conducted during 2011-2012 and sampled of 1,979 adults and children from across the country The objective of the survey was to find out the prevalence of deficiencies of Folic Acid,Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 among women of reproductive age 15-49 years old and children 6-59 months in Belize.

The findings show widespread folic acid deficiencies among women of reproductive age directly relating to the high prevalence of neural tube defects in children. An epidemiologist form the CDC explained:

Dr. Jorge Rosenthal - Epidemiologist, CDC
"It's a regional problem, the problems of anemia. However, it varies in Costa Rica because of good fortification - they have 45 different staples - they have reached the highest proportion of the population and they have decreased in not only in the problems of anemia , the problem of micronutrients but as well we have immortality, prematurity and so on."

"What happens with results here, what does CDC do with them now?"

Dr. Jorge Rosenthal
"It's not CDC, we have been providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Health in Belize and I think this survey is very important for Belize because it establishes a baseline information for micronutrients in pregnant women of childbearing age and kids 6-9 months of age. With this information and the results of this survey, we have found that there are several issues - we have found some successes and some problems. I will start with the successes - for example vitamin A deficiency is very low in women and in children - the country has been very successful. However, there are still some small percentage below 2% in women and 1% in children who are still deficient then really want to reach elimination of vitamin A deficiency - you have to target those groups. In regard to micronutrients I will be more specific, anemia is still a problem - the micorzination among children and women, it's around 22%. However, there are still good news about it - although it's a problem, the proportion of cases are due to mild anemia. In mild anemia has a better chance to be tackled that moderate or severe anemia."

Current corrective measures include the recent grant approval from the European Union of over five million dollars toward the improvement of mothers and newborn healthcare to reduce the incidence of mortality in children less than five.

Channel 7

#469874 - 08/09/13 05:48 AM Re: Are You Missing Micronutrients? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


Last night we told you about the health survey in what are known as Micronutrients Biomarkers – those include Vitamin A, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 intake.

Well, the expert form the CDC spoke about the regional context of the findings, but the local significance is troubling. The results show that nutrient programmes and interventions for females of reproductive age 15-49 years old have not been working as expected.

Nutritionist Robyn Daly said why the survey results were a surprise:

Robyn Daly - Nutritionist, Ministry of Health
"The results of the survey was quite surprising, it's almost like a wake up call for us to really start to taylor and fine tune what we've been doing in terms of Nutrition Intervention. We have always had vitamins and supplements available but now looking at the results we are seeing that it's not enough so we will keep the supplements, we will still keep reaching our population of our children in schools and our pregnant women when they come to clinics and our children at risk. But now we have to look at on how can we get our nation healthy - what can we do as a nation - looking at all groups."

Natalia Largaespada Baer - Maternal and child health Technical advisor, Ministry of Health
"I think the survery is pointing out that at country level we do have defficiency in micornutrients so the solution cannot be just for one region than the other - it has to be countrywide. But definitely we need to boost the Nurtition Interventions in Southern and Western region and we are recommending the rice fortification - it's a good vehicle for carrying these micronutrients that everyone can have access."

Robyn Daly
"Looking at the results - we still have problems with anemia, as was mentioned before, folate, ferritin and these are all linked to our problems that we will be having and have been having if we don't start to taylor more efforts so looking at supplements we have to do more, we just can't just have the supplements because mothers going to clinics, sometimes they come late - we don't know if they're taking their supplements to time, if they do take supplements. All of these things might be contributing factors for some of our results."

A working session to discuss on food fortification was on Tuesday in Belmopan.

Channel 7


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