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Vitamin A Supplements For Young Children Could Save A Million Lives Annually

December 1, 2010: 03:16 AM EST

A review 43 randomized trials involving 215,633 children has found that giving vitamin A capsules to children aged six  months to five years can reduce death and some diseases. Scientists from the U.S., Pakistan and the U.K. said their findings strongly endorse the continuation of vitamin A supplementation programs that reduce the incidence of measles and diarrhea and ultimately save lives. A common problem in low and middle income countries, vitamin A deficiency can impair bodily functions, making people more susceptible to blindness, infection and early death. The researchers found that giving vitamin A capsules reduced the risk of death from any cause by 24 percent compared to placebos or the usual treatment, a rate that equates to saving the lives of almost a million children a year.

Aamer Imdad, et al., "Vitamin A supplementation for preventing morbidity and mortality in children from 6 months to 5 years of age", Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, December 01, 2010, © The Cochrane Collaboration
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