VITAMIN A is essential

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

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."

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