Increasing the availability and utilization of reliable data on population micronutrient (MN) status globally: the MN Data Generation Initiative.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021 ; 114: 862-870.
DOI : 10.1093/ajcn/nqab173
PubMed ID : 34036318
PMCID : PMC8408880
Micronutrient (MN) deficiencies can produce a broad array of adverse health and functional outcomes. Young, preschool children and women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries are most affected by these deficiencies, but the true magnitude of the problems and their related disease burdens remain uncertain because of the dearth of reliable biomarker information on population MN status. The reasons for this lack of information include a limited understanding by policy makers of the importance of MNs for human health and the usefulness of information on MN status for program planning and management; insufficient professional capacity to advocate for this information and design and implement related MN status surveys; high costs and logistical constraints involved in specimen collection, transport, storage, and laboratory analyses; poor access to adequately equipped and staffed laboratories to complete the analyses reliably; and inadequate capacity to interpret and apply this information for public health program design and evaluation. This report describes the current situation with regard to data availability, the reasons for the lack of relevant information, and the steps needed to correct this situation, including implementation of a multi-component MN Data Generation Initiative to advocate for critical data collection and provide related technical assistance, laboratory services, professional training, and financial support.