Vitamin deficiency hits SA kids hard

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Food insecurity is very common in South African households, though the solution could easily be found by growing fruit and vegetables in their backyards.

It is a known fact, for instance, that children need vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.

Vitamin A, for example, plays a crucial role in protecting against infections.

Vitamin A deficiency is severe in at least eight provinces in South Africa.

Studies show that one in three South African children suffer from this deficiency.

"South African children are dying from a lack of vitamin A in their diet," dietician Jane Badham says.

"The problem is so severe that it has been declared a national public health problem."

Vitamin A deficiency can be prevented and health experts say it need not be expensive.

Badham says: "All that is needed are foods rich in vitamin A such as fruit and vegetables. Such vegetables and fruit are pumpkin, gem squash, carrots, spinach, pawpaws and mangoes."