Most Americans take fortification—the addition of micronutrients to our food—for granted. Our milk has added vitamin A and vitamin D. Our salt has iodine. Breakfast cereal is fortified with iron. Each one of these additives was put in place to address the diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies: Not enough vitamin A can cause blindness. Not enough vitamin D can cause rickets. An iodine deficiency can cause mental retardation. Not enough iron causes anemia.
For developing nations, figuring out which micronutrients are most needed, and what might be the best and most cost-effective delivery mechanism for those nutrients, can be a challenge. But when implemented, nutrition fortification programs can dramatically improve the health of the country’s inhabitants. Which is why Engle-Stone brightens when she talks about being part of the team that helped Cameroon design a national food fortification program for wheat flour and cooking oil.
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