Micronutrient defi ciencies are still prevalent throughout the world. The prevalence of the defi ciency of some micronutrients, such as vitamin A and iodine, has been decreasing steadily over the last decades because of targeted interventions, such as supplementation of vulnerable groups (for example, half-yearly high-dose vitamin A supplements for children between six and 59 months of age) or because of food fortifi cation (national salt iodization programs). However, defi ciencies of many other mi- cronutrients are still highly prevalent with, for example, iron and zinc deficiency affecting billions of people. Population groups at risk for micronutrient deficiencies include women of reproductive age, especially pregnant and lactating women, and infants and young children, as (rapid) tissue growth demands higher requirements for micronutrients. Muscle, for example, contains ~81 mg of zinc per kg,1 and therefore relatively large amounts of zinc (and other type II nutrients) are needed when (lean) body mass is being made – as is typically the case in pregnancy, in- fancy and early childhood. However, schoolchildren represent a vulnerable group that is oft en forgotten. This is surprising, as school-aged children need micronutrients not only to sustain optimal growth, even though their growth velocity is less than it is in early childhood, but also to counter infections, and for learning and cognitive development in one of the most crucial periods in their lives.
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