Almost two-thirds of the deaths of children around the world are directly or indirectly associated with nutritional deficiencies. Both protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies increase the risk of death from common diseases such as acute gastroenteritis, pneumonia and measles. Iron deficiency anemia is estimated to affect almost 25% of the world’s population (equivalent to 3.5 billion people) resulting in high economic costs by adding to the burden on healthcare services, affecting learning in school and reducing adult productivity. Dietary practices frequently seen in older children and adolescents from industrialized countries, leading to frequent consumption of often nutrient-poor foods, may also put them at risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Marginal nutrient deficiencies in the developed world are increasingly accepted as risk factors for the development of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease or some cancers.

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