Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
RAMALHO, Rejane Andréa; FLORES, Hernando and SAUNDERS, Cláudia. Hypovitaminosis A in Brazil: a public health problem. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.12, n.2, pp. 117-122. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892002000800007.
Vitamin A deficiency is considered one of the most important of the easily preventable public health problems in a number of countries, including Brazil. The objective of this study was to review the scientific literature in the MEDLINE and LILACS databases that was published between 1970 and 2000 concerning vitamin A deficiency, and to assess the occurrence of hypovitaminosis A in Latin America, especially Brazil. Our research showed that until around 1980 the public health concerns focused mainly on the importance of vitamin A in ensuring good vision. In the second half of the 1980s, epidemiological studies suggested that, on a population level, subclinical vitamin A deficiency could also have a negative effect on metabolic functions, with a great impact on childhood morbidity and mortality. Marginal vitamin A deficiency has been reported in all the regions of Brazil for which there are data available, with high prevalences in various age groups. This situation is inexcusable, given the health care technology and resources that are now available. There must be a commitment to reducing vitamin A deficiency in order to ensure the adequate development of future generations.
Keywords : Deficiência de vitamina A; indicadores; programas e políticas de nutrição e alimentação; inquéritos nutricionais.