Vitamin A supplementation programs have contributed to the reduction in under-5 mortality rates, but do not entirely address the underlying problem of inadequate dietary vitamin A intakes and deficiency among preschool-aged children in the developing world. A combination of interventions will be required to achieve vitamin A adequacy in most settings. Where intervention overlap exists, further effort is needed to monitor vitamin A intakes, ensuring that targeted groups are consuming adequate amounts but not exceeding the tolerable upper intake level.
The present article reviews the progress that has been made to to prevent vitamin A deficiency, and its related health consequences, gaps in vitamin A status and intervention coverage data. Authors also assess the data needed to guide decisions regarding the optimal mix, targeting, and dose of vitamin A interventions to maximize benefit and minimize risk.