Hunger-Related Illness

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1. Vitamin A Deficiency: Vitamin A requirements increase during pregnancy and development, which is why 30% of children in South Asia and Africa suffer from the growth retardation caused by Vitamin A deficiency ( “Vitamin A is a constituent of retinal which is found in the rods of the retina of the eye combined with a protein called “opsin” to form visual purple (also called rhodopsin). Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness. Vitamin A is also responsible for maintaing a normal surface of the eye (the cornea) and deficiency leads to drying of the eye surface – a condition called xerophthalmia. This can lead to blue cloudiness of the eye followed by ulcer formation” (

2. Iron Deficiency: This condition is the principle cause of anemia, a disease that affects about 2 billion people worldwide. Anemia causes abnormally low blood hemoglobin levels which prevents enough oxygen from circulating throughout the body. Iron deficiency leads to premature births, low birth weight, and increased infant mortality. Iron deficiency causes 20% of all maternal deaths worldwide. The problem is compounded by diseases and conditions, such as malaria and parasites, that are common in developing countries. These conditions affect the rate of absorption of Iron from the intestines (

3. iodine Deficiency: This condition affects over 740 million people worldwide, that’s 20% of the world population. Iodine deficiency can cause cretinism, a severe and irreversible form of mental retardation in children ( About 50 million people suffer from some type of mental illness caused by lack of iodine. Deficiency of iodine during pregnancy can cause stillbirths and spontaneous abortions. Iodine deficiency also causes goitre. “In this instance, thyroid enlargment can be viewed as an attempt to compensate for inadequate hormone production by the thyroid, in turn causing insuffiecient iodine for hormone synthesis” ( Iodine deficiency is also responsible for physical sluggishness, growth retardation, and total reproductive failure. Iodine does not occur naturally in specific foods like Iron and Vitamin A, but rather inhabits the soil and is ingested through foods grown in the soil (