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The production of provitamin A‐rich vegetables in home‐gardens as a means of addressing vitamin A deficiency in rural African communities

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Vitamin A deficiency remains a public health problem in the developing world. The highest prevalence of vitamin A deficiency is in Africa and Asia (>30%). Dietary modification, a long‐term strategy to address vitamin A deficiency, complements food fortification and vitamin A supplementation programmes. Provitamin A carotenoids from foods of plant origin are more affordable than preformed vitamin A from animal foods, and many resource‐poor households rely on yellow/orange‐fleshed vegetables and fruits and dark‐green leafy vegetables as their main source of vitamin A. The provitamin A carotenoid content in plant foods varies widely and differences among cultivars of the same food exist. Several factors influence the bioavailability of provitamin A carotenoids. The potential contribution of plant foods to vitamin A status depends on the retention of provitamin A carotenoids after storage, preparation and processing. Home‐gardens can provide households with direct access to provitamin A‐rich vegetables that are not readily available or within their financial reach. The components and critical issues of home‐garden projects are described. Copyright © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: fruits; home‐gardens; provitamin A carotenoids; vegetables; vitamin A

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 February 2007

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