To systematically review the literature on status and intake of iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc in adolescents girls and women of reproductive age in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Data were collected from national dietary surveys and population studies published =2000. Status and intake data were compared with WHO cut-offs to determine micronutrient adequacy, prevalence of deficiency and severity of public health problem.
Twenty eight studies conducted in adolescent girls and women were found, including eight from Nigeria and Ethiopia each and eleven from South Africa and one from Kenya. Three Nigerian studies and one South African study had sample size <100, while sample sizes of the other studies ranged from 100 to 14,505.In all four countries, mean Hb levels were above the cut-off for anaemia of 120g/L (n=5 studies), with a prevalence of anaemia ranging from 12-67% (n=8 studies) between studies. Iron deficiency was found in 13% of women in Nigeria, and 15-44% in SA. Vitamin A deficiency ranged from 4-32% (n=2 studies) in Nigeria, 13% in SA and 2-20% (n=2 studies) of women in Ethiopia had night blindness. Zinc deficiency measured by serum zinc levels ranged from 13-72% (n=2 studies) in Ethiopia and 28% in Nigeria. Iodine nutrition was inadequate (UIE <100µg/L) in 71% of Nigerian females and 31-39% (n =2 studies) of SA females.Intake data were only available for Nigeria, Ethiopia and SA. Iron intake was similar among countries and ranged from 9-31 mg/d and was estimated to be inadequate in 29-84% of females. Zinc intake ranged from 7-12 mg/d with an estimated 26-92% of females with inadequate intakes.
There is limited data available in these countries from the age group of 10-49y especially adolescents. From the limited data we can conclude anemia and iron deficiency is still a public health problem followed by Vitamin A deficiency and zinc. More data at a national scale is needed, to develop and monitor public health strategy targeted at adolescent girls and women.