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The Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiencies and  Inadequacies in the Middle East and Approaches to  Interventions

Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon
Nutrition and Health Department, College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE
College of Health Sciences, Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Department, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Food Science and Agriculture, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, College of medicine and KSUMC, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Department of Nutrition Requirements and Growth, National Nutrition Institute, Cairo, Egypt
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 20111, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(3), 229;
Received: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
Micronutrient deficiencies and inadequacies constitute a global health issue, particularly among countries in the Middle East. The objective of this review is to identify micronutrient deficits in the Middle East and to consider current and new approaches to address this problem. Based on the availability of more recent data, this review is primarily focused on countries that are in advanced nutrition transition. Prominent deficits in folate, iron, and vitamin D are noted among children/adolescents, women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and the elderly. Reports indicate that food fortification in the region is sporadic and ineffective, and the use of dietary supplements is low. Nutrition monitoring in the region is limited, and gaps in relevant information present challenges for implementing new policies and approaches to address the problem. Government‐sponsored initiatives are necessary to assess current dietary intakes/patterns, support nutrition education, and to reduce food insecurity, especially among vulnerable population groups. Public–private partnerships should be considered in targeting micronutrient fortification programs and supplementation recommendations as approaches to help alleviate the burden of micronutrient deficiencies and inadequacies in the Middle East. View Full-Text
Keywords: Middle East; micronutrient; deficiency; inadequacy; dietary supplementation; food  fortification Middle East; micronutrient; deficiency; inadequacy; dietary supplementation; food  fortification
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Hwalla, N.; Al Dhaheri, A.S.; Radwan, H.; Alfawaz, H.A.; Fouda, M.A.; Al‐Daghri, N.M.; Zaghloul, S.; Blumberg, J.B. The Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiencies and  Inadequacies in the Middle East and Approaches to  Interventions. Nutrients 2017, 9, 229.

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