- December 19, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Governance
Context – Inescapable risks of mandatory iron fortification – Fortification will increase serum ferritin without changing haemoglobin level
- Iron is not safe in excess; it is an oxidant with a variety of ill-effects.
- Iron increases the risk for many non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and even high blood cholesterol.
- The iron body stores is measured by serum ferritin concentration.
- Fortification of any one staple (rice, wheat, or salt) will increase serum ferritin, without necessarily changing the haemoglobin level.
- No less than 50% of Indian children, aged 5-19 years, already had a biomarker of either high blood sugar or high blood lipids, even when thin or stunted.
- The WHO is having a consultation this year to evaluate if haemoglobin diagnostic cut-offs for anaemia should be lowered in different geographies, one of which is India.
- This is partly based on a recent paper in The Lancet by us, that showed that the cut-offs were likely lower than the WHO cut-off in Indian children.
- This lowering has been also confirmed in a study of no less than 32 countries worldwide, as well as another in pregnant women.
- A lower cut-off will mean lower (halved) anaemia prevalence.
To know more about Fortified Rice, please refer August 2021 DPN.