The Program of Fortification of Sugar with Vitamin A in Guatemala

Some Factors Bearing on Its Implementation and Maintenance
  • Guillermo Arroyave


In November 1968, a technical group was convened by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to analyze the problem of hypovitaminosis-A in the Americas (1). Certain basic concepts derived from the analysis determined my path of research for the following eight years. The most important of these were:

Results of many nutrition surveys show that a low dietary intake of vitamin A is widespread in sectors of the population in many parts of this hemisphere. Clinical and biochemical studies also indicate that hypovitaminosis-A exists in certain segments of the population. Cases of partial and total blindness resulting from severe vitamin A deficiency in association with protein-calorie malnutrition have been reported, often associated with high case-fatality rates. It may, therefore, be concluded that hypovitaminosis-A represents a public health problem in this hemisphere….

The milder forms of hypovitaminosis-A present even greater problems in assigning priorities in the context of public health. Obviously, considerably larger numbers of the population are affected, and yet our present lack of knowledge of the effects of the lesser degrees of this deficiency makes it difficult to assign priorities realistically. From experiments in animals, however, it can be assumed that prolonged low intake of vitamin A and its precursors may have serious effects on growth and development and on resistance to infectious diseases.

Despite the apparent interest in this subject in scientific literature and the considerable epidemiological data available for this hemisphere, relatively little action has been taken to combat or control this disorder either in its severe or milder forms.


Sugar Manufacturer Retinyl Palmitate Food Fortification White Sugar Sugar Price 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillermo Arroyave
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biology and Human NutritionInstitute of Nutrition of Central America and PanamaGuatemala CityGuatemala

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