'Vitamin A' May Prevent Children from Dying

September 29, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. essential (adj.) [uh-sen-shuhl] – something important or necessary
Example: Education is essential in obtaining a good job.

2. prevalence (n.) [prev-uh-luhns] – the total number of disease cases in a certain population in a given time
Example: The prevalence of cancer in the USA is increasing.
3. deficient (adj.) [dih-fish-uhnt] – lacking something essential
Example: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a public health problem in most developing countries.

4. motivate (v.) [moh-tuh-veyt] – to inspire or lead someone to do something
Example: My parents always motivate me to study harder so that I can achieve my dreams.

5. doubt (n.) [dout] – something you are not sure of
Example: She had doubts in taking English lessons because she thought English would be hard.

Read the text below.

Researchers say that Vitamin A, a supplement essential for a person’s visual and immune systems, could prevent 600,000 children from dying each year.

This finding, published in the British Medical Journal, came from UK and Pakistani experts who evaluated 43 studies involving 200,000 children aged 6 months to 5 years. They found out that Vitamin A reduced deaths among children in developing countries by 24%. In addition, they cited the capability of Vitamin A to decrease the prevalence of measles and diarrhea.

World Health Organization (WHO) claims that more than 190 million children aged below 5 are lacking vitamin A. To help Vitamin A deficient children, supplement programs give out capsules twice every year to a minimum of 60 countries. These programs are able to distribute capsules to 80% of children every year. However, the program cannot provide sufficient supplements for every child.

Aside from being effective, Vitamin A supplements are cheap, according to Dr. Evan Mayo-Wilson, one of the researchers from the University of Oxford. Both these factors should motivate the government to provide Vitamin A to children, the researchers added.

Dr. Mayo-Wilson admitted, however, that there are still doubts regarding the effectiveness of Vitamin A in preventing deaths among children. Some claim and even cite the tendency for Vitamin A to cause respiratory infections among those who are not lacking in Vitamin A.  

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What are the advantages of taking vitamins?
·         How can we maintain a healthy life?

Discussion B

·         How can the government help in maintaining the health of the people?
·         Can people in your country easily avail of health care?

September 29, 2011