Sunday, 31 March 2013

MALNUTRITION: Hilly areas’ people are at high risk of iodine deficiency

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 
MEDICAL experts have said that a large number of people living in hilly areas of the country are at high risk of iodine deficiency disorder.

They were addressing the concluding session of two-day workshop on iodized salt Friday, organized by Nutrition Section of Planning Commission in collaboration with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and UNICEF.

They said iodine deficiency Disorder (IDD) is an effectively preventable cause, however, silently steals mental potential of millions of children in the country and around the world. They said it is apublic health nutrition problem and almost half of the population is at risk of IDD, particularly newborns are at risk of irreversible mental impairment.

They said the problem also leads to cause mental retardation, loss of cognitive abilities, still birth, miscarriage, abnormalities like deaf, dump and stunting. They said malnutrition especially micronutrient malnutrition is prevalent in Pakistan. Maternal as well as childhood malnutrition is a significant public health problem impacting economic growth of the country, they added.

Health experts said food fortification is the recommended practice for increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food to improve the nutritional quality.

They said food fortification plays an important role in reducing malnutrition and it deliversvitamins and minerals to large segments of the population without any changes in eating practices.

Member Planning Commission, Javed Akhtar said that sincere efforts being made by the government will help salt producers and regulatory agencies to improve their iodization and testing practices.

Lorenzo Locatelli Rossi from Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said that theUniversal Salt Iodization (USI) is recognized as a simple, safe and cost-effective measure in addressing iodine deficiency.

He said under GAIN-UNICEF Universal Salt Iodization (USI) partnership project, efforts are being made to create awareness regarding the importance of iodized salt among consumers and producers. He said that the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children. Justus De Jong from International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) urged for practical guidelines on production and storage of iodized salt receiptstorage and handling of KIO3 fortificant to verify that KIO3 meets specification to maintain an adequate stock position. He said a Quality Management System (QMS) will always produce salt products, that satisfy the demand of customers, and comply with the regulatory standards.

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