Children need vitamin A to help fight disease, protect their eyesight, and reduce the risk of dying. Some nutritional problems at school age include anemia, malnutrition, KVA (Vitamin A deficiency), IDD, dental caries, and obesity.
Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in many types of fruits and vegetables , red palm oil, eggs, foods made from milk, liver, fish, meat, and various fortified foods and breast milk. High-dose vitamin A supplements can be given every six months to children aged six months to five years.
Until the age of six months, breast milk is the main source of vitamin A if the mother has sufficient vitamin A from food or supplements. Children aged six months to five years can get vitamin A from various foods such as liver, eggs, fish, red palm oil, mango and papaya, oranges, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables and carrots.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A functions, among others, to maintain the moisture and clarity of the mucous membranes, allowing the eyes to see well in low light conditions (afternoon or dusk).
Some of the benefits of Vitamin A.
- Plays an important role in the function of vision; Night blindness is the result of a vitamin A deficiency.
- Support the growth and development of toddlers; optimal growth and development of toddlers.
- Increase the body’s resistance to viral diseases; Strong children are protected from Diarrhea , Measles and including Covid-19
Vitamin A supplementation reduces acute measles morbidity and mortality in infants and children in developing countries. Vitamin A supplementation regulates the antibody response to measles and increases total lymphocytes. Several studies have shown that vitamin A supplementation or fortification reduces morbidity and mortality of diarrheal diseases in children. Several studies have shown that vitamin A supplementation with zinc has beneficial effects on diarrhea and several other infectious diseases.
Vitamin A deficiency
Children who lack vitamin A are less able to fight various potentially fatal diseases and are at risk of night blindness. Children who have difficulty seeing at dusk and at night may have vitamin A deficiency. These children should be taken for treatment by giving high doses of vitamin A supplements by trained health workers.
Some of the consequences of a lack of vitamin A are stunted growth, disturbances in the eye’s ability to receive light, eye disorders such as xerosis and xeropthalmia, and increased chances of suffering from infectious diseases.
In some countries, vitamin A has been added to cooking oil, sugar, wheat and flour, milk and livestock products and other types of food. In countries where vitamin A deficiency is widespread, and children often die from diarrhea, and measles, vitamin A in high-dose capsules is dispensed twice a year to children aged six months to five years.
Special Needs of Vitamin A
Diarrhea and measles can deplete vitamin A from a child’s body. Children who have diarrhea or measles, or are malnourished should be treated with high-dose vitamin A supplements, which can be obtained from trained health workers.
In areas where there is known or suspected vitamin A deficiency, all children with diarrhea should be given a vitamin A supplement, if they have not received vitamin A in the past month, or if they have not received regular vitamin A within four to six months. month.
Children with measles should receive vitamin A immediately on the day of the examination, and then one dose the next day and another dose at least two weeks later. Zinc tablets can also be given for 10–14 days to (1) reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea or (2) to protect the child against diarrhea for up to two months from the next bout of diarrhea. The dose for children aged six months, is 20 milligrams per day, for children aged under six months is 10 milligrams per day.