Hidden hunger, or a chronic lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet, is a widespread problem in low- and middle-income countries. Deficiencies in one or more micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A compromise the physical and cognitive capacity of millions of people, contributing to the perpetuation of poverty, poor health, and underdevelopment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 42 percent of children less than 5 years of age and 40 percent of pregnant women worldwide are anemic. Pregnant women with severe anemia are twice as likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy than non-anemic women, and for their children, micronutrient deficiencies in utero can lead to low birth weight and brain and spinal defects.
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