Vitamin A Deficiency

Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition 3(2+1)
Lesson 14:Nutritional and Food Requirements for Preschool Children

Vitamin A Deficiency



  • Rare in infancy
  • Highly prevalent in preschool & school children (1-3 yrs)

Socioeconomic factors:

  • Low-income group
  • Nutritional deficient mothers
  • Food fads and fallacies, eg. colostrum/papaya/green leafy vegetables are avoided
  • Poor families cannot afford animal meat (rich in preformed vitamin A)


  • Inadequate dietary intake of vitamin A or its precursor (?-carotene)
  • Vitamin A deficient diets consumed by pregnant and lactating women and off spring born with poor stores of vitamin A.


Deficiency symptoms show up after the liver reserves of vitamin A has been depleted.

Symptoms may result from

Low dietary intakes

Interference in absorption and storage

Interference in conversion of ?-carotene to vitamin A.

Clinical signs:

  • Night blindness
  • Conjunctival Xerosis
  • Bitot’s spot
  • Corneal xerosis
  • Corneal ulceration/keratomalacia
  • Corneal scar
  • Xerophthalmic fundus
  • Increased susceptibility to infection


  • Oral dose of vitamin A. Prophylactic dose of 2 lakh IU of vitamin A once in 6 months upto 6 years.
  • Intramuscular injection
  • Hospital admission if medical emergency


  • Nutrition education
  • Horticultural interventions including kitchen gardening
  • Nutrient supplementation
  • Prevention of infection
  • Selective fortification
Last modified: Monday, 24 October 2011, 9:04 AM