Iron Deficiency: A Major Public Health Problem in India

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Iron deficiency is considered a major public health problem in India. It has been shown that iron deficiency is common in school-aged children from North-India. As much as 50-70% of the children are estimated to be anemic. One study even shows that 90 % of the children were found to be below the cut-off point of the WHO of 120g Hb/L (Seshadri & Gopaldas,1989). Iron deficiency anemia, or anemia are associated with poorer cognition and learning capabilities. This may cause several complications such as psychosocial, economic and biomedical problems. Anemic children often cannot catch up with school achievements, but there is convincing evidence that iron treatment is beneficial for children with cognition problems (Grantham-McGregor & Ani, 2001). Especially
The mung bean (Vigna radiata) is a bean often consumed in Indian populations. Mung beans are small green legumes that contain high amounts of fiber and protein. They fit very well in a vegetarian diet where people use the beans as a meat replacer, which is a common practice in India. In addition, mung beans are a good source of iron, with iron contents ranging between 4-8 mg of Fe/100g (Barakoti & Bains, 2007). Therefore they may have a positive effect on iron status in anemic populations. However, legumes do contain high amounts of phytate which decreases bioavailability of minerals. This is one of the main reasons for anemia, since Indian populations consume a lot of phytic acid through their diet (Nair, et al, 2013).
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