The global health burden of vitamin and mineral deficiencies is profound. Inadequate folic acid causes serious birth defects, and iron deficiency contributes to the deaths of thousands of young women during pregnancy and childbirth
WHY IT MATTERS
- Iron deficiency anemia affects millions of children and women globally.
- Nutrient deficiency leads to a myriad of health problems and healthcare expenses.
- The economic consequences of iron deficiency include reduced work capacity, undeveloped physical and mental skills and increased risk of maternal death.
SOLUTION AND IMPACT
The Food Fortification Initiative is a public, private and civic partnership to promote the use of foods fortified with essential vitamins and minerals around the world. The network of partners, including CDC, is working to encourage the production and marketing of fortified flour and rice. CDC Foundation partners have included the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bühler AG, Bunge Limited, Cargill, Inc., GiveWell, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Nutritional International and UNICEF, among others.
Currently 87 countries require fortification of at least one industrially milled cereal grain. Of these, 86 countries fortify wheat flour alone or in combination with other grains. A 2015 study found that 35,500 birth defects of the brain and spine were prevented in one year due to flour being fortified with folic acid—an average of 97 healthier babies every day.