A study published today in the Journal of Nutrition provides conclusive evidence that orange sweet potato (OSP) provided significant amounts of vitamin A to malnourished Ugandan children and women and that a modest improvement in vitamin A levels in the body was measurable in some cases.
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major public health concern in poorer countries and accounts for more than 600,000 deaths a year among children under five years of age. In Africa, VAD prevalence is estimated at 42% among children under five.
Uganda is among the African countries reported to be at high risk, with 28% of children and 23% of women estimated to be vitamin A deficient. VAD can impair immunity and cause eye damage that can lead to blindness and even death. Annually, up to 500,000 preschool children go blind from VAD, and about two-thirds will die within months of going blind.